tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 24, 2013 8:00pm-11:01pm EDT
little precious angels, coming up here to d.c. i'll tell you, it is -- it breaks your heart on monday mornings when you walk out of the house and one girl grabs one leg, one girl grabs the other, and they say don't leave, daddy. well, right now caroline and katherine are both at home getting ready to go to bed. and they both turned on the television. they're both watching c-span. i will confess caroline and katherine don't usually watch c-span. there are far too few animated features. because the girls are watching, heidi is watching with them, i want to take an opportunity, an opportunity i don't usually have when i'm in d.c. to read them a
couple of bedtime stories. and they're watching right now. if you will forgive me, i want to read two bedtime stories to my girls. but there's a point to this also and the point is very simple. the urgency we have and should feel is because of our kids. it's because of the future that they're facing. it's because of the limited -- limited opportunities they have. so i want to read first of all to caroline and katherine a book, a bible -- bible stories from the old and new testaments which we often read similar stories at home. this one is entitled "king solomon's wise words" it's from proverbs. king solomon had good advice for how people could live a good life and be happy. here are some of his wise saying. children with good sense make their parents happy.
but foolish children make them sad. swede hearts, you make your mommy and me very happy. you will say the wrong thing if you talk too much so be sensible and watch what you say. i'll have to confess to my colleagues that is not an encouraging proverb for someone in the midst of a filibuster. kindness is rewarded, but if you are cruel, you you hurt yourself. try hard to do right, and you will win friends. go looking for trouble, and you will find it. good people are kind to their animals, but a mean person is cruel. we trap ourselves by telling lies. but we stay out of trouble by living right. it's wrong to hate others, but god blesses everyone who is kind to the poor. kind words are like honey.
they cheer you up and make you feel strong. don't trust violent people, they will mislead you to do the wrong thing. even fools seem smart when they are quiet. i suppose that may counteract the other one. good people live right, and god blesses the children who follow their example. hearing and seeing are gifts from the lord. the food you get by cheating may taste delicious, but it turns to gravel. and if you try to be kind and good, you will be blessed with life and goodness and honor. so that's the first story for caroline and katherine. the second one is what they know is my favorite story, it was my favorite story when i was a kid and it's a story i love reading them. i actually don't get to read it to them often because we have a rule at home they get to pick the books.
for whatever reason, they don't take dr. seuss' green eggs and ham all that often. i tell them pick the books wasn't to read and i read it to them. since tonight, girls, you aren't here, you girls don't get to pick the book so i got to pick "green eggs and ham" and i love this story and i'm going to read it to you. sam i am. that sam i am, that sam i am, i do not like that sam i am. do you like green eggs and ham? i do not like them, sam i am. i do not like green eggs and ham. would you like them here or there? i would not like them here or there, i would not like them anywhere. i do not like green eggs and ham, i do not like them, sam i am. would you like them in a house? would you like them with a mouse? i do not like them in a house, i do not like them with a mouse.
i do not like them here or there, i do not like them anywhere. i do not like green eggs and ham, i do not like them, sam i am. would you eat them in a box? would you eat them with a fox? not in a box, not with a fox, not in a house, not with a mouse, i would not eat them here or there, i would not eat them anywhere. i would not eat green eggs and ham, i do not like them, sam i am. would you, could you, in a car? eat pem them, eat them, here they are. i would not, could not in a car. you may like pem. you will see. you may like them in a tree. i would not, could not in a tree, not in a car, you let me be. i do not like them in a box, i do not like them with a fox. i do not like them in a house, i do not like them with a mouse. i do not like them here or there, i do not like them anywhere. i do not like green eggs and
ham, i do not like them, sam i am. a train, a train, a train, a train, could you, would you on a train? not on a train, not in a tree, not in a car, sam, let me be. i would not, could not in a box, i would not, could not with a fox. i will not eat them with a mouse, i will not eat them with in a house, i will not eat them here or there, i will not eat them anywhere. i do not like green eggs and ham, i do not like them, sam i am. say, in the dark, here in the dark would you, skew in the dark -- could you in the dark? i would not, could not in the dark. would you, could you in the rain? i would not, could not in the rain. not in the dark, not on a train, not in a car, not in a tree, i do not like them, sam, you see. not in a house, not in a box, not with a mouse, not with a fox. i will not eat them here or
there, i company do not -- i do not like them anywhere. you do not like green eggs and ham? i do not like them, sam i am. could you, would you with a goat? i would not, could not with a goat. would you, could you on a boat? i would not, could not on a boat. i will not, will not with a goat. i will not eat them in a the rain, not in the dark, not on a tree, not in a car, you let me be. i do not like them in a box, i do not like them with a fox, i will not eat them in a house, i do not like them with a house. i do not like them here or there, i do not like them anywhere. i do not like green eggs and ham. i do not like them, sam i am. you do not like them, so you
say. try them, try them, and you may. try them and you may, i say. sam, if you will let me be, i will try them, you will see. and this page he is simply holding green eggs and ham on a fork preparing to bite them. say, i like green eggs and ham, i do, i like them, sam i am. and i would eat them in a boat, and i would eat them with a goat. and i will eat them in the rain and in the dark and on a train and in a car and on a tree, they are so good, so good, you see, so i will eat them in a box and with a fox and i will eat them in a house and with a mouse,ed i will eat them here
or there. say, i will eat them anywhere. i do so like green eggs and ham. thank you, thank you, sam i am. i want to say to caroline and katherine, may angels, i love you with all my heart. it's bedtime. give mommy a hug and a kiss, brush your teeth, say your prayers and daddy's going to be home soon to read to you in person. let me say more broadly to everyone, you know, green eggs and ham has some applicability as curious as it might sound to the obamacare debate. because three and a half years ago, president obama and senate democrats told the american people just try obamacare. just try it. there were an awful lot of us, an awful lot of republicans who were very, very skeptical of it.
i think for good reasons but very skeptical of it. and we were told try it, try it, try it, try it. and through unfortunately an exercise of brute political force, obamacare became the law of the land. but i'll tell you the difference with green eggs and ham. is when americans tried it, they discovered they did not like green eggs and ham and they did not like obamacare either. they did not like obamacare in a box, with a fox, in a house or with a mouse. it is not working. you know, one of the oldest definitions of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. i understand why many supported obamacare in the beginning. but if you look at the facts, if you look at the evidence, if you look at what is happening when the american people have
tried it, it's not working. and if we listen to the people, if we listen to the american people, every one of us will stand together and say we're going to stop this train wreck, together we need to make d.c. listen. a senator: would the senator yield for a question, through the chair, retaining of course his right to the floor. mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. andersen: had mr. enzi: thank you for the recitation of "green and eggs and ham." one of my favorites was "hand, hard, finger, thumb" by dr. seuss and another was" hop on pop." they might be simple enough that we could get the message across and i appreciate all the passion
that you put into it, all the preparation that you put into explaining this, and your careful way with words explaining it. what i was wondering was, we're on a continuing resolution and i don't know that people out there understand what a continuing resolution is. it means that we failed to do our job on time. that we should have had 12 appropriations bills, one at a time, been able to go through them with some care and i think maybe you would agree that perhaps if we had done that when we got to health and human services we might have had the issue on the individual items of defunding obamacare. and had we had those individual ones, i think some of those would have passed. and it wouldn't have are had to have been an all or nothing like we've got now. and would you agree that doing it this way is particularly if we have no debate and no
amendments, that it would be the wrong way and that all we're doing is delaying some more decisions a little further down the road, that again, should have been covered by appropriations in a very timely manner, and isn't that the same problem that we had with sequester, where we went through two-thirds of the year when there was supposed to be a 2.3% sequester and the agencies had to pack it into three months and that made it 5.3% and that hurt worse and the president's note to everybody to make it hurt wasn't particularly helpful, either. aren't we faced with that when we're dealing with a two-month delay on a c.r. so we have to go through this exercise when we'd like to be home at christmas personally reading those stories to kids, i'd like to be reading to my grandkids, and so we've been kind of put in a box here
that the american public doesn't like, i don't like, but it wasn't our doing. if those bills would have been brought up one at a time and we could have debated each of them, gotten into some details. it's been a long time since we got into details on trillions of dollars of spending. and the health care is a part of that and the health care deserves some individual attention and that's what you and and a number of people are trying to give it is some individual attention. but we're being denied that right, we're not being allowed to go into it in detail so that we can show exactly which parts we would defund, which parts we would dismantle and replace with something better. i spent a lot of time on this bill because i was here when it was going through the committee process. and, in fact, i had a ten-step plan on my web site that would have done more than this bill and it would have been paid for. but that isn't a part of the bill. when they say the republicans
don't have solutions, they're not willing to look at any of the solutions, even if they would wind up in a better situation. so this was passed with a partisan government and it's a health care that is failing, and we're not getting a chance to change it. of course, i'm one of those who would have liked to repeal it and started over again and gotten it right. i know of another substitute bill senator coburn and senator burr did, and that would have been a better replacement,in, too, covered more of the things that the president in the join session of congress when he covered it, i was on a committee that was working on it particularly and i sat there and i took extensive notes and the next day at our meeting i said there are 14 things he said in that speech that we did not cover. and i think we should have covered them. but instead we wound up with the bill we had because there were 60 democrats and that's all it took to pass the bill. they had to make a few deals to get the 60 to stick together and
it surprised me they did stick together. but -- well, i'll end on that question. i have one other one i'd like to ask, too, but i think our failure to do appropriations leads us to this point and also gets us to a point where we can't go into the details of the bill. we have to take an all-or-nothing approach and that's not legislation slaiting. that's dealmaking. so i think we have an alternate approach and i'd like for you to comment on that, if you would. mr. cruz: i thank my friend from wyoming for that very good question and let me thank him also for his early support of this fight to defund obamacare. when start mike lee and i began this endeavor, senator enzi was with us from the start and i am grateful for his support and for his leadership. and i would note your question is exactly right, we wouldn't be in this mess were not for the failure of the united states
senate, the failure of the senate to do its job. the failure of the senate to have open debate, to have open amendments. the failure of the senate to actually pass appropriations bills. continuing resolution exists because congress has fallen down oon the job. congress hasn't actually passed appropriation bills into law. and one of the things a continuing resolution bill does, a continuing resolution basically says, let's keep everything going, because we haven't actually passed the appropriations bills that would properly make the funding decisions on the various agencies of government, but a continuing resolution enables those who want to keep funding obamacare to try to hold everything hostage to it. so, for example, you hear some in the democratic majority suggesting -- and they often run through a parade of horribles, if there is a government shutdown, if a continuing resolution doesn't pass, here
are all of the horrible things that would appear. now, some of the parade of hobbles that are suggested are just contrary to law. for example, they'll sometimes suggest people won't get their social security payments or they won't get their medicare or they won't get their medicaid or we won't pay interest on the debt. now, that's just not the way the government works of all of those are paid through mandatory spending. a continuing resolution doesn't impact those continuing to happen and i would note in 1995, when there were two partial temporary shutdowns, social security checks continued to go out, interest on the debt continued to be paid -- all of that continued. but another thing that those who are trying to force obamacare on the american people frequently want to hold hostage is the men and women of the military. now, as my friend from wyoming noted, if we passed appropriation bills, that wouldn't be a problem. the passed has -- the house has passed an appropriation bill for the military and yet the majority leader, harry reid, the
democratic majority, would not have taken that bill up. if we had passed it into law, you could quantify the chances of the men and women of the military having their pay suspended to mathematical certainty at 0.000%. if we passed the appropriation bill, the issue would be off the table. but the senate didn't do its job and we didn't pass an appropriation bill on the military. and so that leaves a tiny window for the froze threaten -- for the president to threaten if congress listens to the american people and votes to defund obamacare, we may not pay the men and women of the military. now, let me be clear, never, ever should united states not pay the men and women who risk their lives on the front lines. and the current law gives the president ample authority to continue to pay the military regardless if there has been a temporary partial shutdown or not. what has happened in the past in
a temporary shutdown is nonessential government services are temporarily suspended. by any measure, the military of the united states is not nonessential. and so if we had done our job, as the senator from wyoming puts that forward, if we had passed appropriation bills, we would have taken off the table one after the other after the other of these hostages that are being held as the price to force obamacare on the american people. you know, part of the reason, mr. president, why the democratic majority of the senate does that is because a debate on the merits of obamacare is very hard to win. if you noticed, we're by and large not engaging in a debate on the merits of obamacare in terms of defunding obamacare. we're not -- we're by and larg
large -- you don't see democrat he can senators talk about all the people who are losing their jobs, you don't see democratic senators talking about all their hours who are having their hours forcibly reduced or all the people who are seeing skyrocketing health insurance premiums or who are losing their health insurance. instead, we see democratic senators go on television and say, "well, if they stick to their guns on this, it's going to shut down the government." well, as the senator from wyoming points out, there's no reason for that. we could have passed the appropriations bills. or we could do what the house of representatives did. the house of representatives, in an overwhelming vote -- 232 members, including two democra democrats -- voted to fund every aspect of the federal governme government, including, i would note, some parts of the federal government that i feel certain house republicans are not fans of and yet they voted to fund all of it except for obamacare.
i note my friend congressman is louie gomert has come over to the senate floor in a show of solidarity and i appreciate congressman gomert joining us. i would note, if the senate wants to avoid a shutdown, it can do so. indeed, last night, i took the opportunity to ask the majority leader, why don't we just avert this whole train wreck right now? why don't we agree by unanimous consent to pass the continuing resolution that the house has passed, taken the prospect of a shutdown off the table entirely and defund obamacare because it's hurting the american people. the majority leader objected and said no, he wants to keep obamacare, he wants to force it on the american people, and critically he wants to use the threat of a government shutdown to try and do so. that, i would suggest, is inconsistent with the obligation that every senator has.
mr. enzi: mr. president, i'd ask permission to ask another question through the chair with the senator being allowed to keep his -- keep the floor. mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. enzi: thank you, mr. president. i think there are -- i think -- would you agree that there are a number of things in this bill that have been changed because we've recognized that those things wouldn't work? we've changed -- not "we," the president has changed a number of these things, and i'm having trouble finding in the law where those changes come from. there isn't a lot of waiver authority in the bill, but every time that a difficulty is found with the bill, then there appears to be a waiver so that that particular part of the bill
no longer exists. i've never seen that done before on legislation. how do they take a piece of the law that's in the bill, that doesn't have a waiver right and go ahead and exempt us under that particular part of the law. and one particular part on that that i'm particularly sensitive on, because i worked on it very diligently as the bill came through committee, and that piece was the one where congress should be under the law that we pass, congress and the staff. now, that got remodeled, as you'll recall, a little bit so that the committee staffs didn't have to come under it because the committee staffs are actually the one that finish up the bill. but we had intended for all of our staffs to be under that bi bill. so wouldn't -- wouldn't you agree that one of the amendments that we haven't been able to
vote on, it would have only taken 30 minutes to do, a 15-minute vote -- that's kind of standard around here, it takes us a little longer than 15 minutes to do a 15-minute vote. heck, it takes us 20 minutes to do a 10-minute vote -- and that has to vote on the heels of a 30-minute, 15-minute vote. but we could have had that -- had that vote but we weren't allowed to. and what that amendment, as you'll recall, would have done is put congress back under the bill. it would have subjected congress to suffering the same exact thing that the american public is going to start experiencing on tuesday as they go into the exchange, or, at the very latest, by the 1st of january when they're required to do that. if their company is no longer providing them with insurance, the company will pay a little penalty but they get to come under the exchange. but they don't get to bring their tax -- the company's
tax-free donation to their health care along with them. but that's the way we had envisioned it working for congress, too. they would not get a special ten dispensation. so we brought up this amendment that would require that not only would congress come under it, but since the president's the one who exempted this and didn't have the right to exempt us from it, we thought that perhaps he and the vice president and the political appointees maybe ought to come under that same bill. i mean, why wouldn't the president want to come under it? after all, it's called "obamacare." it's named after him. but apparently there's a -- a tremendous desire not to do th that, to explain that the federal government is different. that's exactly what the american people are upset about, that we're different. and we shouldn't be different. and that's one of the things that could have been taken care
of if we'd have taken this all through regular order. so i appreciate your efforts to be able to do something. and i -- i would ask if you think that we ought to be exempted under any parts of this law or that these exemptions would be legal by a president to do if it's not written in the law? so i'm -- as a lawyer, you probably have better insight into that, as i do, and a constitutionalist. so that's why i ask you the question. does the president have the right to do that? mr. cruz: well, i thank my friend from wyoming for that very good question, and the simple answer is no. the president does not have the authority to rewrite lawsui rewr ignore the law. we operate under the principle that no one is above the law. we are a nation of laws and not of men. and there are many disturbing aspects of obamacare but one of the the persistent ones is this law has been such a train wreck that the approach of the president has been over and over again simply to disregard the
language of the law. to -- to pretend as if the law of the united states doesn't exist because, as passed, it was such a bad law. and the way that has manifested, as my friend from wyoming pointed out so accurately, is to grant exemptions to politically favored classes. so it started out with big business, giant corporations, were all with the wave of a pen told, don't worry about obamacare. it's supposed to kick in for you january 1rs o 1st of next year,t the president has decided he's going to do a favor for big businesses that he won't do for small businesses, that he won't do for hardworking american families. the next significant waiver we saw was for members of congress and it occurred after a closed-door meeting here in the capitol where majority leader harry reid and all of the senate democrats, according to the public reports, came to the president and said, we want out of the obamacare exchanges. now, as my friend from wyoming pointed out, if the obamacare
exchanges were a good thing, if obamacare was working, why would there be panic among senate democrats saying, "please exempt members of congress?" why would there be panic among congressional staffers, as i can assure you that there is in a bipartisan way, about being subjected to these obamacare exchanges? why would there be such opposition to subject being the political appointees of the obama administration to the obamacare exchanges? or, as my friend from wyoming pointed out so correctly, the president himself? it is, after all, called popularly "obamacare." and even the president has embraced that name. so you would think, i suspect if there were a health care plan calls "enzicare," the senator from wyoming would be happy to be covered by it and he would probably be very careful to draft a plan that he wouldn't be
willing and excited to be covered by. what does it say that the people in charge of enforcing obamacare on the american people want out? they want a special rule. the i.r.s. employees' unions, the men and women who are given the statutory responsibility of going to america, going to hardworking americans and forcing americans to comply with obamacare, they have said in writing, "please, let us out of obamacare. we don't want to be a part of this thing. this is our health care you're talking about." the most profound issue we are dealing with here today is not jobs, is not the economy, is not health care, it's not obamacare. the most profound issue we are dealing with here today is the fundamental divide between washington and the american people. there is a ruling class in washington, d.c. that believes
they are subjected to different rules than the american people, that it's perfectly appropriate for political friends and allies of the president to get exemptions while single moms and young people and hispanics and african-americans, the people struggling, union workers struggling to pay the bills, provide for their kids, they don't get an exemption. just those that walk the corridors of power. just those with access to political influence. and you know what that does, mr. president? it strengthens politicians even more. look, politicians are in the business of granting dispensations, granting exemptions. well, that means everybody in the country that wants some exception better come to politicians and support them. you want to talk about something corrosive to our system of democracy, why do you think the american people hold this body in such low regard?
perhaps it's because we pass laws that treat ourselves better than everybody else, and we don't listen to the american people. mr. president, we need to make d.c. listen, and i am told, by the way, that during the course of this filibuster, that the hashtag make d.c. listen has at times been trending number one in the country, and i would suggest to my colleagues who have come in support of this effort, it is because the american people understand, they are frustrated with why doesn't washington listen to us, and for at least a brief moment, each of us together, the senator from wyoming, the senator from oklahoma, we are trying to serve as a voice for the american people that don't often have a voice in washington. we need to make d.c. listen. there is nothing more important we could do than that.
mr. inhofe: will the senator yield for a question without losing the floor? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. inhofe: first of all, let me just suggest that a lot of people have forgotten the cost of this thing. i'd like to run over a couple of things, if it's all right with the senator, and then ask him if this same thing that is happening in my state of oklahoma is happening in his state to the south of oklahoma, the state of texas. you know, we -- in just a -- just a week away from when people will have to start signing up for obamacare, and i commend senator cruz for reminding the american people that this law doesn't have to be a new reality, it doesn't have to be. we can stop it. there are still lingering questions about exactly what this is all going to look like, but we do know that this reform law, as they call it, continues to be expensive, burdensome, overreaching. so that's more as time goes by.
it started out with just a little bit, it didn't sound too bad to the american people. it's estimated the program now will cost as much as $2.4 trillion over the years. you know, it's hard to talk about these, i suggest to my friend from texas. we know around here what a trillion dollars is, but most people really don't. it's really hard to understand this thing as to what is going on in america. $2.6 trillion over ten years once this thing would be fully implemented if they are successful in doing it. now, the cost estimates have only continued to rise since the law was passed. most recently, the administration has asked for another $5.4 billion in discretionary funds next year for implementation. now, $5.4 billion in discretionary funds, let's stop and think about that. one of the worst things about the obama administration -- i have to say this, and the senator from texas understands this since he is on the senate armed services committee, is how this president has been
disarming america, and the discretionary money that would be coming out of this is money that otherwise could be used for our systems and to support our war fighters over there, and that's just the cost to the federal government. it adopt include the lost hours, the wages, the employees and the lost jobs and the cost to families. everyone agrees that premiums are going to rise. in my home state of oklahoma, we have a guy named john doke. he is the insurance commissioner. after talking to insurance companies, he says that oklahoma's rates will increase a minimum of 30% and up to 100%, and under one of four insurers in oklahoma, rates will vary from $143 a month for a 30-year-old with basic coverage to $673 per month for a 64-year-old who wants the best coverage. now, remember, the president promised to lower the premiums by $2,500. what i want to do if i could is there is a little bit of good
news, and i know that the senator from texas is aware, but i will ask you how many other people are aware of this. we have a great attorney general in the state of oklahoma, his name is scott prewitt. i suggest you have probably met scott prewitt. before we vote on this thing, we have a serious question as to whether or not some of these subsidies will go even further. what scott prewitt did, he filed a lawsuit that stated that -- that through the courts are leading the charge to dismantle obamacare and put an end to it. just last month, the judge overseeing the lawsuit ruled against a motion filed by the obama administration to dismiss the case, which means the case will proceed. that's huge. i mean, if this goes through, this whole thing will be dismantled. that's why we need to go ahead and fight this thing as best we can, recognizing that there are other areas where the american people are speaking. certainly, scott prewitt is doing really great things.
i heard the senator mention a congressman louis gomert. he is a close friend of mine. we have done a lot of thing. i was visiting with him. actually, he is in the chamber right now and would kind of like to share with us some of the things which are happening in his district, which is eastern texas. now, just some of the letters that he gets back. and this is from someone. to get set up on the software was too expensive. she also didn't want to be limited on the times she felt she needed to spend with her parents. therefore, she stopped taking medicare, had to go on strict cash basis. my wife's doctor is just retiring because he did not want to deal with obamacare. the -- a letter that came in from someone whose name is katie smith said dear congressman, and she goes through quite a letter.
then she says the explanation from i.b.m. was they projected that health care costs under the current i.b.m. medicare eligibility retirement plan options would nearly triple by 2020. another one from riverside cottages -- i guess that's someplace in eastern texas -- we were notified july 15, 2013, that my husband's insurance coverage, blue cross and blue shield of montana, montana comprehensive health insurance, will terminate december 31, 2013, when my husband contacted blue cross and blue shield, they told him that this policy would no longer exist due to obamacare. he will need to find new coverage. and it goes on and on. the interesting thing, the reason i'm reading texts of letters right now is because we received a lot of them, but they are up in my office someplace. so this thing really hits home and hits home hard. so i would just like to ask that
my friend from -- from texas, if he's received a lot of these anecdotal letters from people who are suffering really serious hardships, anticipating what's going to happen when this becomes a reality. mr. cruz: i thank my friend from oklahoma for his excellent question, and let me say at the outset i am grateful for senator inhofe's leadership and for his courage. from the outset, senator inhofe has been with mike lee and me on this fight, fighting to defund obamacare, and let me note senator inhofe, like some of the other senators who came to the floor of the senate this afternoon, including senator roberts and senator sessions and senator enzi are respected veterans of this institution. are leaders who have earned the respect of their colleagues.
i am grateful for senator inhofe being willing to stand up and be a leader in this fight. that courage is contagious, and i hope it will continue to be even more contagious in the republican congress. i hope by the time we come to the cloture vote on friday or saturday that we see all 46 republicans united in voting against shutting off debate, against allowing majority leader harry reid the ability to fund obamacare with a straight 51-vote party vote. mr. inhofe: i ask my friend, though, before that happens, i think it's really important, and don't you agree, that the people of this country have to know what this is really all about. this is socialized medicine. a lot of them did not believe that. let me get the date on this. do you remember the date that harry reid -- last week, the leader, harry reid, on the pbs "nevada week in review," senate majority leader harry reid was asked whether his goal was to
move obamacare to a singlepayer system. his answer was yes, yes, absolutely yes. now, do a lot of the people know what a singlepayer system is? that is essentially socialized medicine. i want to signed of relive. you said some of the more seasoned ones. i was around during the clinton administration when there was a thing called hillary health care. does my friend from texas rather hillary health care? mr. cruz: i -- i do indeed, and i remember in particular at the time the press, all of the gray beards in washington saying at the time hillary care was unstoppable, can't be stopped. you need to accept it. republicans need to get together. if you will recall initially, the response was something widely described as hillary care-lite.
back then in the midst of the hillary care fight, there were a few courageous leaders in the house who stood up against hillary care. and what changed that fight, what changed that battle was the american people rising up. at the end of the day, it's the only thing that can win any fights. mr. inhofe: and i would suggest that's exactly what did happen. i can remember going from washington to my hometown of tulsa, normally i have to go through chicago. chicago actually is where the a.m.a. had its headquarters. it's probably still there. i will always remember this because i was rejoicing. i was coming back after the long fight against hillary health care, socialized medicine. i remember asking the question on the senate floor. i said, you know, explain this to me. if socialized medicine doesn't work in great britain, it doesn't work in sweden, it doesn't work in canada, why do you think it would work in this country? now, they will never say it, but what they're thinking is, well, if i were running it, it would work. we got that point across slowly. it took months and months.
they started way ahead with hillary health care. then we were catching up. just like right now people are realizing this is a failed socialized medicine effort, and we had won this thing. and i remember -- it kind of relates to what's happening today. i was on that plane going through chicago to tulsa, and i picked up "the wall street journal," opened it up, and there is a full page ad by the a.m.a. supporting hillary health care. of course, i stopped in chicago and went by to visit them at the a.m.a. it just seems like a lot of people like them. now, these are a lot of -- an organization representing a lot of real smart doctors and others who were saying that we can't win, we can't win this thing, and therefore let's go ahead and give -- we had already won when they ran that ad. now, i don't know how many days before that they put the ad in, but nonetheless, that's it. i don't know whether my friend remembered that because my friend was not in the senate at that time, but that's exactly
what happened, and it's very similar, very analogous to a lot of things that are happening today. the other thing -- i did want to mention, to let you know, any time you have desperation setting in, there are a lot of things that go around to confuse people. let me tell you what's happening in oklahoma i found out about today. this will surprise my friend from texas. you know, there are 14 of us that started, you and me and 12 other people, about six weeks ago, i guess it was. so all this time, we have been lockstep trying to see what we could do to stop this thing from happening to my 20 kids and grandkids and the rest of america. so people realized i was there in the very beginning, as the senator from texas mentioned, and yet we have some of the obama people are doing robocalls in my state of oklahoma, posing as tea party people, saying call inhofe because he is for -- for
obamacare. can you believe that something like that is happening, i ask my good friend? it shows to me a level of desperation to get people confused as to what the issue is and want to get to these deadlines so we can get past and have this thing that is a reality that every liberal in america probably is supporting. mr. cruz: i thank my friend from oklahoma for that question. i have to say i'm not surprised, and, you know, there's an old adage among courtroom lawyers. if you have the facts, pound the facts. if you have the law, pound the law. and if you don't have neither, pound the table. to be honest, the approach of obamacare defenders is an awful lot of table pounding. it's an awful lot of let's discuss anything other than what, in fact, is happening. so if you pick up any newspaper, talking about this
issue, what will the reporters write about? you know, the political reporters in washington, d.c. i think some of them may be frustrated because they really wanted to be hollywood gossip reporters. because they cover these issues as a battle of personalities. you want to get a story on the front pages of the paper, find some anonymous congressional staffer to say something scurrilous, ideally include a little profanity in it and the political reporters of this town eat that up. because apparently the only thing that matters are the personalities bickering back and forth. and, you know, in many ways that's unsurprising. because if you're trying to defend a law that the lead author calls a train wreck, that the unions who supported it are desperately trying to get out from under, that you and your democratic senate colleagues are desperately asking for yourselves to be
exempted from it, then you sure as heck don't want to talk about how the law is operating. you sure as heck don't want to talk about all of the people that are losing their jobs because of obamacare. you sure as heck don't want to talk about all the people who can't get jobs, the small businesses that aren't growing because of obamacare. you certainly don't want to talk about all of the people forced into part-time work and 29 hours a week work. you don't want to talk about the insurance premiums that are going up, that are pricing people out of the insurance markets. and you especially don't want to talk about all the people losing their health insurance. you read the stories from east texas of citizens there losing their health insurance. that's happening all over the country. so it doesn't surprise me that you're seeing deceptive robo calls in the tof oklahoma because they don't want to debate on the merits of obamacare because it's indefensible. so the only strategy is smoke and mirrors. the only strategy is, well, if
we can't talk about the law that's let's con convince -- convince them about something else, distract them, anything to take people's minds off of the underlying issue. and by note to my friend in oklahoma, the only way that strategy works is if the american people don't believe washington will listen to them. and look, there's a lot of reason for the american people to believe washington is not going to listen to them because washington hasn't been listening to us for a long, long time. politicians on both sides of this aisle have lost touch with their constituents, don't go home, don't go to town hall meetings and view the desires of their constituents as simply uninformed and not relevant to doing our jobs. mr. inhofe: let me -- you said something that is so profound. mr. cruz: i'm yielding for a question but not yielding the floor.
mr. inhofe: of course. when you say if you don't have logic on your side and don't have the facts and don't have the public on your side, what do you do, it's not just pounding the table, it's calling names. i went through this, i suggest to my friend, 12 years ago when the kyoto treaty was up, everybody thought global warming, that was going to be everyone's trip to the white house was to support global warming until we realized what the cost would be. i was the bad guy who who said it's a hoax, and secondly, if it's not, we couldn't do it. that's when the name calling -- i remember being called in writing and by a fairly prominent person i should be hanged for treason at that time. that's what they get to and what my friend is going through with a lot of people who don't agree with him. but now 12 years later what's happened? people realize that it was right. i'm not suggesting it's going to be the years before -- 12 years before they realize you're right on this but the behavior of
people today is something that's happened many, many times in the past. so i would just ask my friend to remember that and realize quite often when you're right in a controversial issue you'll be the subject of a lot of criticism, a lot of cussing and a lot of name calling and a lot of violence. so this isn't the first time. mr. cruz: i thank my friend from oklahoma for his very kind remarks, for his support and encouragement and for his friendship from day one since i arrived here in the senate. and i do hope that other colleagues in this body don't listen to all of your remarks and suddenly discover that hanging for treason is an option because that may not work out terribly well for me but i hope that becomes purely figurative. and i'll note at the end of the day, listen, you and i and all
100 of us, we're incredibly fortunate. we have lived lives in this country of relative privilege, we -- everyone in the united states senate enjoys a good home, has a soft bed, i suspect, has air condition,ing, has food on table. i feel blessed to have a wife who is my best friend in the world and whom i love with all my heart, to have two precious little girls who are the joy of my life. and to be able to come to work every day, to walk on this senate floor, there is be a -- there is not a day when that doesn't take my breath away, the idea that the son of a cuban immigrant where with nothing could find himself suddenly elected to the senate, to have the opportunity to come in every
day. it's truly awesome in the real sense of the world. you know, awesome, there was a time when awesome was a valley girl phrase for everything, but awesome in its real sense of inspiring awe, i find it awesome every day to walk into this capitol and to have the amazing privilege to serve as you and i do and all 100 of us do. and the slings and arrows that one deals with, serving in public office, to be perfectly candid, are all chicken feed. you know, the only phrase about sticks and stones, listen, someone saying something mean about you is nothing compared to the suffering so many people across this country are experiencing. you know, as you sit down with
one single mom who is working her heart out to provide for her kids because she wants her kids to have a good home, sheents were kids to have an education, she wants her kids to have a future, her hours have been reduced 29 hours a week, she doesn't know what's coming next, that's hard work, that's suffering. this ain't nothing. you know, if you talk as i know have you many times to a disabled veteran who is worried about the impact on our economy of obamacare, of jobs drying up, who is worried about his grandson who is just coming out of school right now, but can't get a job. that is a lot more important than the political bickering back and forth and that was my point about all of the press coverage dealing with, it's not about any personality here, it is about listening to the
american people. the american people do not give a flying flip about any member of the united states senate, none of the 100 of us. what the american people are interested in is what we've always been interested in. which is freedom, which is our families, which is providing for our kids, being a good example to our kids which is working for a better world and working so that our kids and their kids have an even better future and opportunity than we have had. and, you know, mr. president, if you go back centuries, every generation of americans has been able to give to the next generation a brighter future, greater prosperity, greater opportunity and we're on the verge of being the first generation of americans not to do so. you want to put your finger on the discontent so many americans
feel, that goes right to the heart of it. what we're doing in washington isn't working. the economic malaise, i refer to the last five years as the great stagnation, because for four consecutive years our economy has grown on average 0.9% a year. it's not working. now, intelligent, rational people looking at a set of policies that isn't working would do the intelligent, rational thing. we correct course. we say okay, this isn't working, what has worked? but that's not happening and it's not happening because even though it's not working, the failures aren't visited on congress. the failures are visited on the american people. congress exempts itself from obamacare, doesn't even do it in the law, the law says we're covered by it, but instead democratic senators go to the president and say we want a
special exemption for us that doesn't apply to the american people. and so the fundamental problem is, elected officials are not listening to the people. you know, earlier i was reading the article about the lost generation of young people from "the wall street journal" that ran on september 19. i made it about halfway through and let me finish that article because i think it raises some very important issues. the last thing i read was the young man, 23 years old, working a job where he says that his job at the grocery store, he doesn't have a college degree but he's seeing more and more college degrees getting it and he thought gosh, i thought this was a job to help me pay my way through school. if this is the end job after you get a degree, what is opportunity. i think a lot about what i'm ahead or behind, he says.
i really hope i'm not ahead. the article continues, mernls aren't the only ones asking such questions. the financial crisis that began in the u.s. rippled across the atlantic, bursting similar credit and property bubbles in countries such as the u.k., ireland and spain and crippling a european bank sector that this had dense with the u.s. financial system. much 6 europe's economy was plunged into -- plungetd do into a slump and struggled to regain its precrisis levels of growth and jobs. in europe it triggered a second cries, massive capital flights from countries that came close to unraveling the euro. let me move forward beyond the europeans. back to where it discusses the american young people again. there are signs that the weak economy is leading to deep
societal changes. an entire generation is putting off the rituals of early adulthood, moving away, getting married, buying a home and having children. the marriage rate among young people long in decline fell even faster during the recession and the birth rate for women in early 20's fell to on all-time low in 2012. mr. president, why do you think it is that young people are putting off marriage or putting off kids? according to a recent pew research study 18 to 24-year-olds lived with their parents in 2012 up from 51% in 2007. 56% of 18 to 24-year-olds lived with their parents in 2012. an increase that looks particularly dramatic because the share has changed -- had
changed precious little the previous four decades. moreover, many young people are losing hopes of matching the prosperity of their parents' generation. mr. president, i talked a minute ago about our hope all of us that our kids have greater opportunity. what does it say that young people are losing hope about matching what where we are much less having greater prosperity? just 11% of employed young people in a recent pew survey said they had a career as opposed to just a job. fewer than half said they were even on track for one. john congressionally thought -- connally thought he was on the right track in life. the son of a new jersey auto mechanic he was the first in his family to go to college when he enrolled in rutgers in 2009. i will note as an seea side, mr. president, my uncle went to rutgers. i went to college, princeton in new jersey and my uncle was fond
of reminding me the first college at-football game ever played in the united states was played between rutgers and princeton and my uncle len would remind me who won, rutgers won and i'm sure john connally was aware that rutgers won the first collegiate football game in the united states. four years later he found himself $21,000 in debt without a permit job and sleeping on friends' couches in new york and brooklyn. quote -- "i hear a lot of stuff people in my generation aren't buying cars or houses, and i'm a step beyond that. i can't even pay rent on time, mr. connally says. i have a hard time planning ten years in the future when i can hardly plan three months in the future. at rutgers mr. connally was an honors student and president of the student assembly. but worried of taking on or debt
he withdrew from school. after a summer spent living with friends after working a temporary job at a brooklyn nonprofit, he found a grant that allowed him to reenroll in school this fall. but but he still doesn't know what he'll do when he graduates at the h end of the semester. quote -- "i kind of did what i was 'supposed' to be doing," he says. the losts of a lost generation, and i'm still reading from the "wall street journal," "go beyond the impact on young people themselves. a 2012 analysis commissioned by the corporation for national and community service, a federal agency, estimated that the 6.7 million american youth who are disconnected from both school and work could ultimately cost taxpayers $1.6 trillion in lost tax receipts, increased reliance on government benefits
and other expenses. look at broader and economic social effects, such as lost earning and increased criminal activity and the impact tops $4.7 trillion, the researchers estimate." mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? the presiding officer: there l the senator yield? mr. cruz: i am happy to yield for a question to the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: it's my understanding the senator's position is if we do not defund obamacare, as he has characterized it, the health care reform act, that he believes we should shut down the government on october the 1st? is that the senator's position? mr. cruz: i thank the senator from illinois for that question and that most assuredly is not my position, so i thank you for the opportunity to clarify it. let me be very, very clear. i do not believe we should shut down the federal government. the only reason we might shut down the federal government is if president obama and majority leader reid decide they want to
force a government shutdown. what i believe we should do is the same thing the house of representatives did, the same thing the house courageously did, which is last friday the house of representatives voted to fund every aspect of the federal government, every bit of it, including parts they disagreed with, except for obamacare. and i would note for my friend from illinois, they did so in response to the american people because the american people are hurting under obamacare. mr. durbin: would the senator yield further for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy yielding without lieuing my right to the floor. mr. durbin: i senator has spent at length today, including about his education. i respect it. he's gone to some great schools. certainly the senator understands it takes 60 votes to achieve the goal that he's trying to achieve, which means that the senator believes he has at least all the votes on his side of the aisle and another 14 votes on the democratic side of the aisle to repeal obamacare? does the senator have that
belief? mr. cruz: i thank the senator for that question and i thank the senator for comment he has made in public noting that having attended the schools i have, that perhaps i hadn't learned to count to 60. i will note that i'm quite familiar with what is necessary to defund obamacare. and what i have said for months is this is a long process. i am not remotely polianish. i am not remotely under the illusion that this is going to be a short, quick process that suddenly obamacare will be defunded. and i'm getting to the answer to your question but it is a detailed answer and so if you'll forgive me, i will take a few moments to -- to lay it out. the first step, in my view, to this process was unifying and motivating the american people. this process was never going to work unless the american people became engaged in historic numbers. and so i spent much of the month of august and september during our recess traveling the state
of texas, traveling the country, doing everything i could to go directly to the american people, to go around the lobbyists, go around the entrenched interests in washington, go straight to the american people and i'll tell you, the response was incredible. everywhere you'd go, you'd see a thousand, 2,000 people show up. we've seen over 1.6 million americans sign a national petition to defund obamacare. that was the first step. now, that wasn't going to be enough but it was the critical first step. the second step was what happened last week. it was the house of representatives voting to defund obamacare. now, i would note, as the senator from illinois is well aware, that as recently as a couple of weeks ago, every learned observer, every pundit, everyone in washington said it's impossible that the house is going to pass a continuation resolution that defunds obamacare, it's not going to happen. and yet on friday it did. and why did it happen? because the house of representatives listened to the american people, because the speaker of the house and house conservatives stood up and did the right thing and made a courageous vote. and i would note two democrats
joined the house republicans in doing so. mr. durbin: would the senator yield further for a question? mr. cruz: i'd like to finish answering your last question and then i'll be happy to yield for another. but let me finish answering your question. the third step is where we are now, it is the united states senate. now, in the united states sena se do two things. the first thing we're going to have to do in order to successfully defund bay, -- defund obamacare is to unify republicans, to bring together all 46 republicans opposing cloture, opposing harry reid's being able to fund obamacare on a straight 51-vote partisan vote. i believe every republican should be unified in that. right now we're not. right now there are divisions in the republican caucus. i am hopeful those divisions, that republicans will listen to our constituents. i can't convince my colleagues. the only people that can convince my colleagues on this side of the aisle or that side of the aisle are the people all
of us work for, are the american people. if we are able to unify republicans, the next step -- you asked me, how do we ultimately get to 60? now, i assume the predicate of that step, that question, is that the first thing we'd have to do is to get to 51. so if we got 46 republicans and we initially got five democrats. how would we get five democrats? well, as the senator from illinois is well aware, there are quite a few democrats who are up for election in red states, states where their citizens understand obamacare's a train wreck, it isn't working. and i believe if those democratic senators, particularly in red states, begin hearing from their constituents in overwhelming numbers, that will change their calculus. now, let me readily admit, as long as republicans are divided, as long as we're shooting at each other, there's not a lot of incentives for democrats to come join us. but if we can unify republicans, then i believe we'll start with
red state democrats who will potentially lose their jobs if they continue not listening to their -- their people. mr. durbin: will the senator yield? mr. cruz: sure. mr. durbin: my question your premise was to whether the house was going to vote the way they did since it's voted 42 times to abolish obamacare. it came as no surprise. but let me ask a specific question. one of the reasons i voted for health care reform, and i'm proud that i did, was illustrated by a woman that i met in southern illinois. the senator has spoken today about hardworking people, including members of his own family, and i don't doubt that. this woman's name is judy and she's a housekeeper at a hotel that i often go to and we've become friends. judy has worked her whole life in manual labor. she's been a cook, waitress, housekeeper, all of these things. she's 62 years old. judy told me that she had never had health insurance one day in her life ever. she'd worked every single day she could but she never had
health insurance. it turns out that judy was diabetic and we found some doctors and hospitals locally in her area to give her some care. we've just had an announcement in illinois that's going to be officially released tomorrow about what this new health insurance marketplace in illinois means for people like judy. it means that we're going to offer 165 different health insurance plans in illinois by eight different insurers. the premiums at the lowest level of health insurance for those who aren't under medicaid will be in the range of $84 a month. but the good news for judy is that her income is so low, she now qualifies for medicaid for the first time in her life. for the frs time i first time i, judy, who would be turned down because of a preexisting condition of diabetes, is going to have the peace of mind of health insurance.
senator, you and i are blessed to have the best health insurance in america, as members of the united states senate. so when you say you want to disband and stop obamacare, do you want to deny the opportunity for judy and millions more just like her for the first time in their lives to have the protection of health insurance they can afford? mr. cruz: well, i thank the senator from illinois for that question and i will say, i respect his sincerity and passion in believing that government solutions from washington can fix this problem. i don't know if the senator from illinois shares the views that majority leader reid expressed on television, that -- that -- i don't know if your objective is, as majority leader reid said his was, to move to a singling-payer government- -- single-payer, government socialized health care. it may be. i don't want to putted words in your mouth -- put words in your mouth. i don't know one way or the
other what your view would be. but i will say this, you tell the story of jude yeech the bes. the best way for judy or anyone to have health insurance is to have an economy that's booming and for people to have jobs and opportunities. and indeed, let me respond with two things. number one, before the senator from illinois came to the floor of the senate, i read a number of letters that have come from people all over the country. and let me just read the next one on my stack because it hans happens to actually be a counterpart to your story about judy. this was a constituent from bracketsville, texas, who wrote earlier this year -- quote -- "since the passage of who is known as obamacare, my insurance premiums have gone up three times. that doesn't count medicare part a and b that have also written. i was informed that certain retirees would see their company support terminated after 2013 and my support will terminate after 2018. in the meantime, i've lost two family doctors who have left the
practice and must settle for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. i am fortunate to have good coverage for which i pay dearly that is accepted everywhere. but i fear the day i can no longary ford it -- longer afford it. i am paying for obama's train wreck ever since the day the bill was passed. surely there should be a way to defund the bill. please help." i would note for the senator from illinois, these pleas for help are coming from all across the country. i'm happy to yield. mr. dush durbin durbin: i thinkr to judy is after working a lifetime, get a better job. she's never had health insurance. and i think your answer was, judy, get a better job. so let me ask you another job. when i voted for obamacare, health care reform, one of the things that motivated me was the fact that health insurance companies would no longer be able to discriminate against americans with preexisting conditions. i've had a situation in my
family, a child who had a series physical problem who could not have qualified but for group health insurance shafs available thealth insurance that was available to me as a member of congress. if i had to go on the open market to buy a policy, i'm not sure i could have afforded it to cover my child. so when you say you want to abolish obamacare, do you want to abolish that part of obamacare which says you cannot discriminate against people for preexisting condition when's it comes to health insurance if those people are victims of asthma, diabetes, cancer treatment, mental illness? do you want to abolish obamacare and that protection? mr. cruz: i thank the senator from illinois for that question. and let me answer it in two different ways. let me talk generally about what the senator talked about, about his health insurance and my health insurance as a member of the senate and let me talk about preexisting conditions separately. the first point i will make is
that the senator from illinois is passionate and has been quite eloquent describing what he perceives to be the benefits from obamacare and yet i think it speaks volumes that the senator from illinois and i and every other member of congress has been exempted by president obama from the plain text of the statute. the statute provided -- and it was -- it was inserted quite deliberately -- that if we're going to impose rules on the american people, we should be subject to the same rules. we should be put in the exchanges like millions of other americans. you just talked about the wonderful exchange. the text of obamacare provides that you and i should be in those exchanges. and it also provides that just like the other people in the exchange, that our employers can't subsidize it once we get in that exchange. now, once it passed into law, the democratic caucus met with president obama. i obviously was not in that
meeting but i read the public reports of what occurred there, i read the press accounts. and the press accounts all indicated that the majority leader, the democratic members of the senate asked president obama, please, get us out from under this, we don't want to be in the exchanges. now, i see my friend from illinois is shaking his head. look, i was not in the room. i -- you can -- the press reports all say that was what occurred. but regardless, that's what happened. so that message was heard by the president because shortly thereafter the administration issued a ruling that exempted members of congress and exempted our staff, and so i'm curious if the senator from illinois is such a fan of the exchanges, is such a fan of the health care that has been provided, would the senator from illinois then support senator vitter's amendment to provide that every member of congress, every one of our staffs, every political
appointee in the obama administration, and frankly i would like to see every federal employee all put under the exchanges so that if we're going to make the rules for the american people, that we be subject to those same rules, those same plans, so that when we go on television and say the exchanges are really, really good, we're not talking about something someone else is experiencing. we're talking about our own health care. mr. durbin: without jeopardizing his control of the floor, i'd like to respond and ask a question. mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. durbin: the point i'd like to make is the senator is just plain wrong. what he just stated is just plain wrong. here is the state of the situation. the health insurance that you enjoy and the senator from alabama and i enjoy as well as the senator from virginia is the federal employees health benefit program. it covers eight million federal employees and their families, including members of congress and our staff. for the premiums that we pay,
for the health insurance we choose, the federal government, as our employer, pays 72% of the premiums. this is not an unusual situation. 150 million americans, half our population, have exactly the same arrangement. employer-sponsored, employer contributions to the health care of their employees. what the president did was to say, number one, you, senator cruz, myself and others will now have to buy our health insurance through the insurance exchanges that we created in obamacare, and with it, we will get the employer contribution, as we do now, as you enjoy now personally and i enjoy for that purchase of health insurance. my wife and i will be choosing a policy from the health insurance marketplace in the state of illinois. we will have eight different insurance companies and 165 choices, and that's our insurance. what you quarrel with is the employer's contribution to
health insurance, and if that is now your position, the position of senator vitter and the republican party that it is a federal subsidy that should be stopped, you are affecting the health insurance not just of members of congress and their staff but 150 million americans. you better think twice about this. if you want to stop employer contribution to health insurance, that is the headline for tomorrow morning. i do not support that. my question is do you? mr. cruz: i thank the senator from illinois for his certainly genuine political advice and counsel. and i would note that the experience democratic senators found of under obamacare suddenly facing the prospect of losing their health insurance, of being forced into the exchanges, health insurance that had been employer provided being forced into the exchanges with no employer subsidy, it is a disconcerting experience.
it is an experience nobody likes. it is an experience that's lousy. there is a reason why democratic senators were so upset. there is a reason why congressional staff were so upset. what my friend from illinois is not focusing on is right now there are americans all over the country experiencing that exact same sentiment because of obamacare. just a few weeks ago, u.p.s. sent a letter to some 15,000 employees saying we are dropping spousal health insurance because of obamacare. now, that's 15,000 u.p.s. employees who had insurance for their husbands and wives, and suddenly those husbands and wives are left without health insurance and being told go on an exchange with no employer subsidy. now, senator durbin just made a passionate case why that's a terrible thing to tell people. i agree.
listen, my preferred outcome is not to subject members of congress, congressional staff, political appointees of the administration and federal employees to the exchanges in obamacare. my preference is to subject nobody to that. but the reason why senator grassley inserted that amendment is because we've got a problem of a ruling class in washington, in both parties -- this is a bipartisan affliction -- that believes that the rules that govern americans, working americans don't govern us. and so if we're going to set up a system, if obamacare is going to force americans all over this country to lose their employer-provided health insurance, be forced onto the exchange with no subsidies, then the men and women who serve in this body should feel that pain exactly the same, so when we go on television and say this is great, we should know of which we speak because we have got skin in the game and we're not being treated better, and i think under no circumstance
should congress, members of congress be treated better than hardworking americans, and that's what president obama did, and he did so by all reports at the request of democratic senators in this body. mr. durbin: will the senator-year-old for one last question? mr. sessions: will the senator yield for a question? mr. durbin: i'd like to ask a question and then you can yield to the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: will the senator yield? mr. cruz: i'm going to yield to the senator from alabama for a question. i will be happy to yield to the senator from illinois later if he would like to remain. he has been waiting for some time. i would like to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: well, i thank the senator. an econometric firm and others have studied what's likely to happen in our economy, and as i understand it, they predict far more people will be dumped from the coverage into the exchanges than they have today, so people that are under health care
coverage today, they are being matched, paid for by their employer, the employer discovers that it would be less expensive to quit providing health care coverage, let those individuals go into the exchange, and they may or may not provide any subsidy to them. so i do think the extent to which we as senators go into the exchange and we are guaranteeing the full subsidy we have been getting is different than is going to happen to millions of americans. i guess the senator maybe has heard that argument and how it's possible that if businesses decide to drop health care, individuals can then be forced to go into the exchange without any subsidy at all. i would ask senator cruz if he understands that that's possibly what could happen to large
numbers of americans. mr. cruz: i think the senator from alabama is exactly right. we're seeing americans all over this country hurt from obamacare, and i want to suggest, mr. president, that the problem we're debating today, it's bigger than a continuing resolution, it's bigger than obamacare, it's bigger even than the federal budget. the problem is the men and women of d.c. are not listening. they aren't listening to the millions of americans who are asking for more accountability, more responsibility and more truth from their elected officials, and it's time to make d.c. listen. i would observe that during the course of this afternoon, the hashtag make d.c. listen has been trending number one because the american people are frustrateed. they're frustrated the democratic senators are not listening to them, they're frustrated their republican senators are not listening to
them. the whole debate we're having right now is not about strategy, it's not about process, it's not about procedures, and it's not about all of the pundits and pollsters and consultants. the problem is d.c. isn't listening. everyone in america knows that obamacare is destroying jobs. what the senator from alabama so talked about from econometric positions, you have to get outside of the beltway to any of the 50 states and actually talk to people that are trying to find jobs. talk to the small business owners that are struggling under the pages of regulations. everyone knows that obamacare is destroying jobs, that it's driving up health care costs. let me encourage right now everyone in america, president obama in america three and a half years ago promised the average american by the end of his first term, the end of last year, the average american family's premiums would dop by
$2,500. let me encourage, everyone in america's premiums have dropped $2,500 to go online and tweet obamacare cut my premiums. and you know what? i'm willing to venture in every one of these states, if all of the democratic senators who support obamacare are willing to say i will take only the votes of those of you whose premiums have gone down, i can tell you right now on the republican side i will happily take the votes of everybody else, because i'm going to predict that's not going to be a 50-50 election. it's not even going to be a 60-40 election. everyone knows this thing isn't working. washington is pretending it doesn't know. this process is rigged, and that's why we have got to make d.c. listen. traveling across texas, just like the senator traveling across alabama, you hear the stories everywhere you go. it doesn't matter. it doesn't matter what town you're in, it doesn't matter who you're talking about.
you hear the stories, you see people with disabilities saying please stop obamacare before i lose my health insurance. you see young people who would like to be working towards a career saying please, i'd like a job. i met with a whole bunch of service men and women who have just come back from afghanistan at a military base in texas, and i asked them as i try to do at any gathering that is a small enough group that you can do this, go around, share any issue that's weighing on your heart, that you pray about, that you're concerned about. i remember one young soldier said i'm most point of order about jobs. when i come out of the military, am i going to have a job? all my buddies when they come out, they can't find jobs. everyone nodded and said that's exactly right. the american people want to stop this madness, and so do i. here in washington, we pass million dollar bills, billion dollar bills no one's ever read without even voting on them. we call it unanimous consent. it's only unanimous because we
don't let the american people know. it would be very interesting to bring 100 of our constituents in any unanimous consent bill that's spending a billion here, a billion there, see what our constituents think about that. the system is designed deliberately to hide what we're doing. in this debate right now, there are many members of this body that are happy that the debate is covered with obscurity over procedure, obscurity over motion for cloture, on a motion to proceed. nobody knows what that is. and you know what? that benefits members of this body because it lets all 100 go back to their citizens and say hey, what were you for? yeah, yeah, i was for that because i was for the motion to what cha macallit. no one understands what that is. our leaders demand approval for bills before they are amended. so we are being asked this
friday or saturday to vote to shut off debate on this bill before we know what the bill will be. we don't know what amendments harry reid is going to file, but we're asked to cut off debate nonetheless. it's like former speaker of the house nancy pelosi said pass it and find out what's in it. you wonder why the american people are disgusted with what happens in washington. that's business as usual in this town. listen, the way this is planning to unfold is very simple. majority leader reid has said if he succeeds in cloture, if he succeeds in shutting off vote -- shutting off debate on friday or saturday, that he is going to introduce one amendment, and by all appearances only one amendment, to fund obamacare in its entirety. and that will be subject to a straight 51-vote threshold. now, there are a couple of dynamics going on. number one, republicans are
actively debating among ourselves should republicans vote with harry reid and the senate democrats to allow harry reid and the senate democrats to fund obamacare with a straight 51-vote partisan majority? now, mr. speaker, i don't find that a difficult question. i think that should unify all 46 republicans that no, we should not enable obamacare to be funded and that a vote for cloture on friday or saturday is a vote to fund obamacare. they are one and the same. they are identical. if you vote to give that power to harry reid to fund obamacare, then you are responsible for it being funded, and by the way it being funded in the same broken process where there are no amendments, there is no opportunity to change it, there is no opportunity to offer anything. you don't have an opportunity to offer an amendment, i don't have an opportunity to offer an amendment. instead, it is brute political force. but i'll tell you an upside, an upside frankly from some members of the republican caucus.
if debate is cut off, they can tell their constituents i -- i voted for the house bill. not true, but they can tell them that. but even better, a 51-vote threshold -- here's the dirty little secret that people don't want to admit. there are more than a few republicans on this side that affirmatively want a 51-vote threshold. why? if we have a 51-vote threshold, i promise you all 46 republicans will vote against it. a straight party-line vote which means every republican can go back to their district and say mr. and mrs. america when i had the the opportunities to vote against obamacare, i did it. i did what you want and the rest is hid then the procedural mumbo jumbo but the beautiful outcome and the reason some republicans want a 51-vote threshold, if it's 51 votes, we will lose.
the president is well aware, there are more than 51 democrats in this body. it will be a partisan party-line democrat vote, exactly how obamacare got passed into law. and i'm going to suggest that republicans going along and say we want a symbolic vote is not listening to the people. look, the dysfunction is on both sides. the democratic members of this chamber, i understand, look, obamacare is a democratic law signed by a democratic president, passed into law with only democratic votes. it is hard if you are a member of a political party to admit gosh, this thing that we put a lot of political capital in, it ain't working. that's a difficult -- that's a risky thing for anyone to say. now, i will encourage -- my hope is by the end of this process we'll see some democrats, some senate democrats listen to their voters and recognize, say, listen, i
thought this thing would work, i hoped it would would work but it hasn't. that's what the unions have said. the labor unions that publicly, vocally supported obamacare and many of them were active proponents of getting it passed, they've looked at it and said you know what, we thought it would work, it hasn't. there's no shame in admitting that you tried something and it didn't work. i very much hope over the course of this debate we will see some democratic senators doing -- i would note that the fact that senate democrats are not participating, are not here makes it less likely, but on the republican side the game is the same. you know, washington, d.c. is a strange place in many, many regards. one of which is symbolic votes are treated as tremendously
important. you know, i remember -- i'm told of a conversation that senator lee had with a member of the house when early on the house had not yet voted to defund obamacare but there was discussion about casting a symbolic vote to do so. and the american people were quite unhappy with that and expressed that view and both senator lee and i expressed that view, that we shouldn't be engaging in procedural games, we should actually be defunding obamacare. and one particular house member who will remain unnamed called senator lee and made a comment i thought was particularly revealing. he said you guys should be grateful. we gave you your vote. and i remember thinking what a curious turn of phrase. grateful. what an odd washington view of things. why should we feel gratitude for
getting a vote that is 100% destined to lose because it's offered in such a way that harry reid on a partyline vote can fund obamacare and yet we can all have a symbolic vote? and the reason, frankly, mr. president, is this is a town for a long time neither side has listened to the team. there were a lot of politicians who want symbolic votes. let me be clear. i don't want symbolic votes. i think our constituents should know what we believe and whether we get a vote on it or not to demonstrate, it shouldn't matter because if we're standing and fighting, if we're walking the walking --, walking the walk, our beliefs should be self-evident. d.c. responds, the d.c. establishment responds anyone who tries to tell the truth, i promise you, my observations right now that there are some republicans that would like a
symbolic vote and would like to lose so that they don't have any risk of it actually being defunded, i promise you, those comments are not getting me invited to any cocktail parties in washington any time soon. and that's perfectly fine. i don't particularly enjoy cocktail parties anyway. you know what, though, this town needs loot more truth telling. it's absolutely true, everyone here knows it but you're not supposed to say it out loud. there's a cuss tox where we wink at each other and -- custom where we wink at each other and you say you're telling your constituents one thing and i'm telling my constituents one thing and let's not give them the opportunity to know the truth. if we got a hundred of your constituents or mine, if we got a hundred citizens from any of the 50 states and put them in this room instead of a hundred senators, i promise you, they
wouldn't care about a symbolic vote. why do you want a symbolic vote? what's the point of that? it's only politicians who make their living staying in office that want symbolic votes because symbolic votes are useful for getting reelected. they don't actually change the country, don't make people's lives better but help people who want to get reelected and run a campaign ad saying here's what i voted to do. if you got a hundred citizens from the commonwealth of virginia, the state of texas, the state of alabama, what they would say on obamacare is we got to fix this. we got to get people back to work. we got to deal with all the young people that are stuck in dead-end jobs because they can't get a job out of school. we got to deal with all the people, all the single moms working in diners finding themselves working 29 hours a week because of obamacare. we got to deal with all of the people who are struggling because their health insurance premiums are skyrocketing under
obamacare. we got to deal with all of the people who are losing their health insurance under obamacare. that is why i'm speaking out today. it's why so many others have come here speaking out, because we've got to make d.c. listen. that's what this fight is about, is make d.c. listen to the american people and i very much hope that the debate over the course of this week has a real effect changing the culture. that's why this body is held 10%, 12%, 14% approval ratings. mr. president, i remember a few months ago when all of us were in the old senate chamber, all 100 senators, a bipartisan meeting, actually a very interesting, productive conversation. and i remember a number of senators commenting about the low approval ratings that congress is held in and saying something to the effect that it's because we're not more
efficient, we don't pass more laws. and i got to say i think that gets it exactly backwards. i've never found in a constituent in the state of texas and i suspect there are not many in your state or anyone else's state who says the problem is you guys aren't passing enough laws. that's not what i hear from the people. now, it's what you hear from politicians in washington who would like to pass as many laws as possible. so they can go take credit for them but it's not what i hear from the people. the people at home say you guys have done enough damage already. i'll tell you why i think we're held in such low esteem is because we don't listen to the american people. every poll that has been done for years of the american people whether any state, your state, my state, any state, even bright blue states, democratic states you ask the american people what's your top priority, jobs and the economy is the overwhelming answer. that's true if you ask
republicans, even if you ask just democrats, ask just democrats in just bright blue states, jobs and the economy are still their top priority. or independents or libertarians. anyone you ask. yet you and i have served in this body, mr. president, nine months. i would note in the nine months we've been here the united states senate has spent virtually zero time even talking about jobs and the economy. not on the agenda. we don't talk about it. we spent six weeks talking about guns, talking about taking away people's second amendment rights and no time fundamental tax reform, fundamental regulatory reform. today talking about defunding obamacare, the biggest job killer in the country, you want to get jobs and the economy going, nothing more important than defunding obamacare and what's the case? there are right now three members of the united states senate on the floor of the senate and two members of the
united states house. if you ask the american people how many senators should be here in the debate over defunding obamacare, the biggest job killer in this country because the american people's top priority is jobs and the economy, the american people would say all 100 senators. what possibly do have you that's more important to do? i suspect some of our colleagues are at a fundraising dinner, some of our colleagues are at home with their families. you want to know why congress is held in such low esteem? it's not that we don't pass enough laws. it's that the priorities of the men and women in this body are not the priorities of the men and women of america. we're not listening to america. 0 the most important objective, what i hope will come of this week, more important than the continuing resolution, than the budget, more important than obamacare, is that we make some
real progress to changing the culture of this place. so that both democrats and republicans start listening to the people. that's the way our democratic republic is supposed to work. and that right now, unfortunately, is not how it's working right now. mr. sessions: would the senator yield for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question without yielding the floor. mr. sessions: the senator made an important point about too often what goes on around here is that we act to obscure the reality of what's happening. i think that's important. i'd like to ask you about it. you asked senator durbin, i didn't see exactly how he answered, i think you asked him whether or not he believed in a single payer. i don't think he answered. we know for a fact senator reid in august said when squarely asked do you believe in a single
payer, he said yes, yes, absolutely yes. close quotes. so what we've learned since then is that others are making the same statement. this spring, senator sanders from vermont, an honest and able senator, said in the budget committee this bill is not going to work, really in my view it's not going to work, it needs to be a single pair. -- single payer. senator sanders is a liberal member, at one point i think identified himself as a socialist, but he's an honest, able advocate and he said the truth, this bill as written won't work, it has to be a single payer. just this afternoon in the budget committee, one of our esteemed members of the democratic party when asked -- when i made a comment about senator reid, the majority leader of the united states senate saying he wanted to a
single payer, he said, well, i want -- this ought to be a single-pay system. so i don't know how many others have, the president said it in twee when he -- in 2003 when he was running, he flat-out said he wanted a single payer. then he backed off. began to obscure that position, it seems to me. it seems to me that they realized that the american people were nowhere ready to have the government take over health care. so what did they do? it seems to me they obscured what the reality of this legislation was. they began to move away from it and they began to say it was something that it wasn't. but now in the last few days it's almost like they've come out here and openly beginning to say that's what should happen. i understand the democratic leader in the house, nancy pelosi, has said she favors a
single payer system. so senator cruz, i think -- i want to say to you that i feel like you're doing important work because the american people may not yet fully know how huge an issue it is before this congress. this is huge. let me ask you again here, when we say there's a single payer, hair begins to stand up on my neck. i think i know who the payer is. who would be the single payer for all health care in america if that kind of agenda took place? mr. cruz: thank you, senator sessions for that important question and the payer would be the united states government which means the payer would be the u.s. taxpayer which means the payer would be hardworking
americans. and once the federal government starts paying for all health care in america which has been the stated position of the far left for a long, long time and the senator from alabama made reference to senator bernie sanders and i agree with you, i respect senator sanders' commitment to his principles, commitment, as you note he previously ran as a socialist, i respect that degree of candor and, frankly, i would be very happy if this body had 10 more bernie sanders and 10 more like mes because i -- might be lees because i think that would be far more truth in advertising. and then we could have true debates about what the role of government should be in our lives. should we have socialized medicine? that's a very good debate to have, especially because -- and i know the senator from alabama agrees with me on this -- i think the facts are on our side. every country on earth that's
implemented socialized medicine, it hasn't wonchtd and we all know what the results are. you inevitably see poor quality with socialized medicine, you see rationing, you see scarcity. you see the government getting between you and your doctor. your doctor deciding you want a health treatment, your mother needs a health treatment, your child needs a health treatment, you have a government bureaucrat deciding whether you get one. now, maybe the bureaucrat tells you, well, you can get that hip replacement you want in six months, in a year. but they may turn to senator lee and say, you know what? no, your mom can't get that treatment. we've determined on our tables it doesn't make sense to give her that treatment. he guess she's at the end of her rope. that's what happens, is it's the government that decides who gets health care and who doesn't. and you know what? americans overwhelmingly don't want that. and i think there's another point that's critical. it's not just that majority leader reid said that he likes
single-payer socialized health care, it's that he said, as a number of other have, that obamacare is designed to lead to that. and i think it's very important to ask the question why? how does it lead to that? because it that goes to both sides of this aisle. there are many republicans who have said we shouldn't fight this fight, it's risky, we could get political blame, all of the d.c. pundits say we shouldn't do this. let's just sit quiet and let obamacare collapse. it's collapsing of its own weight, it's not working. if we sit quiet it will collapse and the democrats will take the blame. mr. president, i'm going to suggest, there's far too much worry about blame and credit. who cares, i don't care if democrats take the blame. i'd prefer to avoid the collapse and spare the democrats the blame. who cares? but if it collapses, why is it that majority leader reid says,
obamacare will lead to single payer? because in the process of collapsing, it will take our private health insurance system with it. yeah, it will collapse but it will leave a wreckage, it will leave millions of people losing their health insurance being pushed more and more on the exchanges as more and more insurers are pushed out of the mart. and then when it collapses, there's no more health insurance programs to go back to. that's why majority leader reid can say i want socialized medicine and just relax, obamacare will take us to that. but that's also a real message to all the republicans who right now have not yet announced that they are going to oppose cloture on this bill. because if we don't -- if we wait for obamacare to collapse -- yes, it will collapse -- but with it will go the private health insurance system and we may well find ourselves in single payer. and i've got to say, instead of worrying about blame, instead of trying to play the politics and think through -- listen, i'm not
nearly smart enough to play through all the political angles of everything else. i think it's a lot simpler just to stand up and try to do the right thing. and one of the easiest ways to do the right thing is listen to the american people. you want to know what their concerns are? go home and listen to your constituents. their concerns are, i'm trying to get a job; i can't get a job. i'm trying to grow my small business and obamacare is driving us out of business. i'm afraid of losing my health insurance and obamacare is taking away health insurance. look, we've read and i've got stack after stack that i'm going to keep reading, of individual constituents, constituents in texas, in virginia, in utah, in alabama -- all over the countr country -- who are losing their health insurance because of obamacare, who are losing their jobs, who are being forced into part-time work. we need to listen to the people. now, mr. president, i want to share -- i told the men who are
watching this that if they were to tweet the hashtag makedclisten, which has been over the course of this trending number one, that i would share some of the tweets they sent. and so with your indulgence, i would like to do so to help give them a voice. many of them right now -- presumably none of them can walk on to the senate floor and give a speech. now, maybe in a few years some of them might and maybe in a few years if enough politicians in this body don't listen to the american people, we might get quite a few of these new tweeters who show up as new senators committed to listening to the american people. but in the meantime -- [inaudible] mr. sessions: would the senator yield for one question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. sessions: senator cruz, as you think about those people who tweeted and e-mailed and called and written, most know something
about the american system. you know, if you're in illinois, alabama or texas or utah and you talked about this and said, this law has got real problems and it can't work the way it is, wouldn't you think that they would think that the united states senate would be able to take up this legislation and actually discuss it in a grown-up way and amendments could be offered that could fix it and be voted on up or down? and don't you think the fact that we're in this situation, as you've indicated, a steamroller where the majority leader is blocking all amendments, all ability to -- to really attempt to fix this legislation and make
something that would actually work, is being blocked totally. even though the house has passe repeatedly changing this law and ending this law. don't you think that the average american would be shocked to think that it's -- we're incapable in this senate to bring up a legislation and have it voted on to fix this bill? mr. cruz: i think senator sessions is absolutely right. the senate isn't trying to fix this bill. the senate isn't trying to respond to the needs of the american people. it isn't trying to respond to the jobs that have been lost, to the people that have been forced into part-time work, to the people that have lost their health insurance. instead, it's responding to political power. and i will note that any republican that on friday and saturday when we have the cloture vote, votes to cut off debate is voting to give majority leader harry reid the ability to force funding for obamacare with no changes, no
amendments, shutting off amendments. you can't offer amendments, i can't offer amendments, we can't do anything. it's a pure exercise of political power on a straight party-line vote. that will make many republicans happy because they will get to symbolically vote against it and we will be certain to lose if it's a 51-vote threshold. now, part of the reason i would suggest, you can understand why the majority leader wants to do that. listen, if you're defending a law like obamacare that is a train wreck, in the words of the democrat who wrote the bill, you don't want to debate the substance of it. i would note, when -- when the esteemed senator from illinois was down on the floor -- and i appreciate his coming -- he sure didn't want to debate why there's a congressional exemption, why members of congress are treated better than average americans, why presiden obama has said members of congress are going to be dprementd obamacare but hard --
exempted from obamacare but hardworking american families are not. look, i understand. if i was the democratic majority leader and i were defending that position, i wouldn't want to defend it either. because i've got to tell ya, there's not a state in the union where our constituents wouldn't just about tar and feather us if we stood in front of us and defended -- stood in front of them and defended there should be a special exemption for members of congress but not for you. and for big business. president obama granted an exemption for big business. but not for you. not for hardworking americans. look, what a perfect example of the broken system, of the disconnect between d.c. and washington -- dispc the american people. -- d.c. and the american people. and so it is indefensible on the merits. and so this whole process is designed not to debate it on the merits. it's designed never to have that debate, because, as i observed earlier, the old adage -- and my
friend, senator lee will recognize this from his days as a litigator, as will the chair -- the old adage in the courtroom "if yo you have the f, pound the facts. if you have the law, pound the law. and if you don't have either, pound the table." so if you're defending obamacare, if you're defending exemptions for giant corporations and members of congress that don't go to the average american families, you don't want to talk about the facts and you don't want to talk about the law so you want to pound the table, you want to talk about shutting down government, you want to scare people, you want to threaten to cut off the funding of the men and we feel the military, which is grossly irresponsible. i think congress should never, ever, ever imperil the salaries of the men and women who -- who risk their lives to protect us. and this body should immediately take up the defense authorization bill that the house passed so that we can make sure the men and women of the military are always paid. and by the way, even without that if there was a partial shutdown, the president has all
the authority in the existing law to pay the men and women of the military. but listen, if you don't want to debate the merits, you've got to distract people. and so it's a game. you know, a professional magician, if you talk to a professional magician, magicians are good at banter and they're good and smoke and mirrors and distraction. and sometimes when they raise their hand and they have a shiny object over here, they want every one to look over here, it's because they're pulling the card out of the deck with this hand. there are a lot of professional magicians in this united states senate. all of the discussion about shutdown. and, for that matter, all of the personal politics, all of the attacks. more than a few of which have occurred within the republican conference. more than a few of which have been directed at senator lee. more than a few of which have been directed at myself. more than a few of which have been directed at the courageous house conservatives who led the fight in the house to get the house of representatives to do the right thing and defunds -- d
obamacare. there's a purpose to them and there's not even a purpose that appears on the face of it. you would think that the purpose that appears on the face of is if you're leaking nasty quotes, if you're sending staffers to give nasty quotes, with a little bit of mean, nasty sense of humor, you would think they're doing it because they're trying to pound somebody. they're not doing that. it's an added side benefit. but it's all about distraction. make it about the personalities. make it about the people. make it about anything, anything, anything other than obamacare. because if we were actually talking about obamacare, if we were listening to the people -- listen, if we were listening to the people, the people don't give a flip about any of the 100 of us. they just don't care about politicians, and for good reason. there are few very people in -- in america who say, you know, what do you want to do on the 4th of july, pal around with a bunch of elected politicians? most people want to be in their
backyard grilling burgers with their kids. god bless them for it. that's why america's the greatest country on earth, because we have families and we -- it's not about government. you know, in a totalitarian regime, everyone thinks about government all the time. because when you've got a jackboot on the back of your neck, it's hard to think about anything else. the game in washington is smoke and mirrors. the game in washington is distract from anything, anything, anything except the thing the american people care about, which is fixing the problems, addressing jobs and the economy. that's what's not happening. all right. so let me read some tweets. mr. sessions sessions: mr. prest will, the senator yield one more time? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question. i would note my friend from alabama seems bound and determined to stop the tweets. mr. sessions: i'm interested in those tweets. i just want to say thank you for what you've done because i think you are learning all of us --
alerting all of us to the critical importance of the health care issue. this is a plan, it seems to me -- and you've expressed it, i believe -- to take over health care by the united states government. we can all disagree. and i was here when everybody on the republican side fought this legislation until christmas eve, when it was finally rammed through shortly before scott brown from massachusetts could take office and kill it. that's how close it was. and i know people disagree about how to deal with it and i understand and respect people with different agreements -- different visions. but i just wanted to say, your leadership is i think -- has i think served a valuable purpose tonight and i am pleased to be able to support your effort and i wish you every success in those efforts. and i hope that as you continue tonight, that you will drive home the critical importance of
this issue as we go forward. it's a matter that this entire nation cannot look away from. it's a matter we'll need to consider fixing because the legislation as presently written will not work. and we've got two choices, it seems to me. will we move forward to a single payer, as senator sanders says we must do because it won't work as written? or will we move back to the classical american view of insurance and private health care, in your own, personal physician? so i thank the senator from texas and would be pleased to hear some of those great tweets i know you've gotten. mr. cruz: well, i thank the senator from alabama. i thank him for his perseverance, his leadership and his courage. i will say there have been more than a few legislative fights in
even the few months i've served in this body in which jeff sessions and i have been fighting side by side, and i appreciate his friendship and wisdom, and it matters in this body. so let's hear from the american people some of the tweets that have been sent this afternoon during this discussion. already got a second job again because taxes are squeezing me dry. make d.c. listen. congress passes laws that they don't follow, lives large off our money and has contempt for those they represent. make d.c. listen. 2,700 pages when it was passed. over 20,000 pages now to implement it. make d.c. listen. vote no on cloture. a vote for cloture is a vote to
fund obamacare. defund obamacare. make d.c. listen. we will not go quietly into this disaster called obamacare. make it cover everyone or no one. make d.c. listen. what a great point. if obamacare is such a terrific thing as its defenders say, then all of us should be subject to it, big businesses, members of congress, our staffs, president obama, every political appointee in the government, every federal employee. and if that's a burden, then i believe it would be a huge burden. i would not be eager about that personally, but if that's a burden, then it shouldn't cover anybody. if there is some reason why that would be unacceptable -- and i would note, by the way, i actually think of all of those. our friends on the democratic side of the
side of the aisle would probably get the most pushback from having it apply to all federal employees because federal employees could push back mightily, for good reason. but the right thing to take from that is not, well, all these guys should be exempt. it's why would they push back. if members of congress and their staff and federal employees and the president and the executive branch employees all found themselves subject to the same exchanges, the same rules that hardworking americans find themselves subject to and they would be really, really dismayed , that should motivate every one of us to say hey, you know, i'm a lot more worried about the single mom working in a diner than i am about the i.r.s. tax agent making $125,000 a year who is dismayed about being subject to the same rules as that single mom. and if we wouldn't be willing to make it apply to everyone, then
it shouldn't apply to anyone. make d.c. listen. do the right thing and defund this abomination of an unfair tax. listen up, america. this is your wake-up call. make d.c. listen. defund obamacare now. we do not need this injurious legislation to be enacted. make d.c. listen. stay strong. vote no on cloture. obamacare must be stopped. the will of the majority of americans is to defund obamacare. make d.c. listen. sick of our employees deludeing themselves into believing they are our bosses. make d.c. listen. for those who didn't follow it, we're the employees, the elected representatives who work for the american people and yet an awful lot of people in this body think we're the bosses. that's exactly backwards.
we don't want obamacare. we never did. defund it. make d.c. listen. just finish college -- finished college. can't get a full-time job. thanks obamacare. make d.c. listen. there should be no law that exempts the few and burdens the citizens. we the people do not -- not is in all caps -- want obamacare. make d.c. listen. d.c. elite are out of touch. i.r.s. has no business being involved with health care. make d.c. listen. make d.c. listen because obamacare and its tax will damage the opportunity of americans to choose the course of their own lives. my insurance premiums went from $450 in 2010 to $880 in 2013, with $1,500 deductible.
make d.c. listen. obamacare is a job killer, will ruin health care. those numbers again. 2010 was just a few years ago. $450 was that individual's health insurance premium. now it's $880 in 2013. that's the impact that obamacare is having. here's a nice one. thank you for reading tweets so the american people can be heard. make d.c. listen. you're welcome. it is a privilege to have a chance to in some small way help provide a voice for the american people. i.r.s. bureaucrats don't want obamacare either, but they're happy to force everyone else to conform to it. make d.c. listen. obamacare has turned america into a part-time nation.
people are losing their homes. they can't feed their children properly. make d.c. listen. mr. president, i want you to think about that last tweet for a second. obamacare has turned america into a part-time nation and people are losing their homes. they can't feed their children properly. you know what? any member of this body was forced to work part time, was losing their home, couldn't feed his or her children properly, it would be a crisis. talk about getting our attention. it would be a crisis. if it was a family member, if it was our parents, if it was our kids that were facing that, we would move heaven and earth to address that. and yet here it's our boss, it's the american people that are experiencing that, and most members of this senate are doing something else other than being here. i will note we have congressman louie gohmert, congressman paul
brown, congressman richard hutchison was here earlier. where's the senate? we don't feel the pain of the american people like it's ours, like it's us. it's not surprising because president obama's exempted congress from obamacare, so we're not feeling the pain. that's the problem. obamacare has turned america into a part-time nation and people are losing their homes. they can't feed their children properly. make d.c. listen. three years and they still can't get it going. make d.c. listen. make d.c. listen because d.c. is not listening to the american people help us. help us is all caps. defund a.c.a. it is job killing and not affordable, and we won't get care, and our politicians act like it's good for us.
that's true. a lot of politicians do act like hey, this is really good for you. mind you, we don't want to be subject to it, but plus us, it's good for you because different rules apply to the washington, d.c., ruling class than apply to the american people. that's the problem. help provide for the economy. make d.c. listen and defund obamacare, fight for real reform. obamacare is a disaster. make d.c. listen. letters saying your plan is canceled due to the a.c.a. ruins the like it, keep it narrative. make d.c. listen. by the way, that's from an individual that is at demcalal. it makes me wonder if it's a democrat in california named al. i don't know if it is, but it would be interesting if it were. what's interesting about this is if you get outside of washington, not just republicans who understand obamacare isn't
working. it's democrats, it's independents, libertarians. i feel quite confident, mr. president, that james hoffa, the president of the teamsters, is not a republican. i really have no doubts on that front. and yet, mr. hoffa, in a public letter, has said obamacare is destroying the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the american middle class. those are just the facts. it's what's happening if we were listening to the american people, every one of us would be here doing everything we could to turn it around now. we wouldn't be happy to wait until the end of the week. we'd say now. let's stop this job killer. defund obamacare because i know what's best for my health care, not some bureaucrat. make d.c. listen. defund obamacare. the majority of america is
against this intrusion into our private relationship with our doctor. make d.c. listen. make d.c. listen because obamacare is killing full-time jobs. make d.c. listen. defund obamacare because it takes our freedom away. if you love your country, value freedom and choice, oppose tyranny style government laws, then make d.c. listen to you. tired of senators who won't listen. make d.c. listen. make d.c. listen. please stop obamacare. it's killing this country. we need the government to listen to the people and do what is best for the country. i support defunding obamacare 100%. make d.c. listen. make d.c. listen. we don't want government intrusion into our health care.
d.c. isn't listening. everyone in america understands that obamacare isn't working. make d.c. listen. the health care reform that the president sold america isn't the health care reform that america's getting. make d.c. listen. obamacare, ain't nobody got time for that. all caps and three exclamation marks. make d.c. listen. way to go. make d.c. listen to our voices calling for individual liberty. make d.c. listen. we don't get an exception, so you shouldn't either. i agree. i think all of us should get an exception. every american should get an exception. and there is no world in which congress should be treated better than hardworking american families. i don't want more government.
make d.c. listen. i wish the senate would listen to us. please listen to the people. we don't want this bill. we want freedom. make d.c. listen. make d.c. listen. obamacare is turning us into a part-time economy. government is designed to go by the will of the people, not the other way around. make d.c. listen. we don't want it, don't need it and can't afford it. please tell them to listen to its citizens. make d.c. listen. ronald reagan warned us about government-run health care. bad, bad, bad. make d.c. listen. make d.c. listen. analysts, experts and business people agree that the a.c.a. will hurt our economy. americans are fed up with our elected officials not listening. we, in all caps, don't want
obamacare. make d.c. listen. let the free market make health care more affordable by allowing sales across state lines. make d.c. listen. let me say, by the way, that is a terrific proposal. once we defund obamacare, there is a lot we need to do on health insurance. there is a lot we need to do on health care reform to make it more affordable, to make policies personal and portable so they go with you regardless of what job you're in, and one of the best things we can do is allow interstate competition. right now it's illegal to purchase health insurance across state lines. now, why does that matter? well, the biggest barrier to access for people who don't have health insurance is the cost. and you get government regulators that drive the cost up and up and up because they mandate this bell and this whistle and you have to cover everything that they want, and it's a great thing for politicians, because, look, if you mandate every health insurance policy has to cover this procedure, it lets politicians come to the people and say hey, i'm giving you free
what have yous. but one of the simplest principles of government is there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. every time you mandate a health insurance plan, it must include whatever the politicians want to give away to the people. it drives the cost up. every time the cost goes up, there are more and more people that can't afford it. you have a lot of politicians giving away free stuff. when you do that, it means a whole lot of people will get no coverage because they can't afford it. now, if we would allow purchases across state lines, we would see a true 50-state national marketplace, true competition, so there would be real choice. and what that would mean -- let's say you're a young, healthy person. by the way, the people who may be the lig biggest los obamacare are young people. it's difficult to design a bill to do more damage to young people, the lost generation is what economists are dubbing
people in significant part because of the consequences of obamacare. if you're a young, healthy person it may well make sense to purchase catastrophic health insurance. health insurance, if god forbid you get hit by a truck tomorrow or you get diagnosed with some horrible life-threatening disease. the odds are relatively small that's going to happen to any of us, but if it does, it's really, really bad and boy, that's when we want health insurance. if you could purchase insurance across state lines you could get low-cost inexpensive catastrophic coverage. you know, mr. president, you think about health insurance right now it doesn't really work like insurance and i want to compare it to an insurance market that works. most of us are familiar with car insurance. most of us who have cars, have car insurance. you know, with car insurance,
if you need to change the oil in your car, you don't call all state and say change the oil in my car. you get a flat tire, you typically don't call all state and say i got a flat tire, change the tire. if you get i hit by an 18-wheeler and your car is totaled, then you call and say this catastrophic event happened, that's why i paid for insurance. a lot of people when it comes to health insurance right now in the system treat it as just the third party payer instead of dealing with catastrophic events. that is a reform that would make a real difference. if you want access to low cost health insurance allowing people to purchase across state lines, and if we added to health savings accounts so you could save in a tax advantaged way, to meet routine prevention,
maintenance, to take care of the equivalent in the auto context of changing the tire, that would go even further. and if we changed the tax laws right now most people don't know that employer-provided health care is an historical anomaly. it actually arose during world war ii and shortly thereafter when wage and price controls were in effect. and employers had a challenge. they wanted to recruit employees but couldn't raise wages. it was against the law. so they began offering health insurance as a way to attract people and say come work for my company, we'll give you health insurance. rye now the federal tax laws heavily favor employer provided health insurance. the problem is we don't live in 1950's america anymore. we don't live in a world -- there was a time people would get a job at a big company and
work 30, 40, 50 years, retire, get a gold watch and that would be it. we don't live in that kind of world anymore. most people will work for one company, then another company and then another company, relatively unlikely that american workers are going to stay with one company their entire life. they're going to switch jobs and possibly a lot. sometimes voluntarily and maybe not voluntary. when you and i were in the private sector, mr. president, if we lost our jobs, if we got fired, you didn't lose your life insurance. you didn't lose your car insurance, didn't lose your house insurance. the only insurance you'd lose if you lost your job was your health insurance. mr. president, that doesn't make any sense. of all of them, it's the worst one to lose. the senator from illinois asked about preexisting conditions. if we could change the law so that health insurance plans were
personal and portable just like your car insurance regardless of where you happen to work, it goes with you, travels with you, that goes a long, long way to solving the problem of preexisting conditions. where preexisting conditions have such a big impact is somebody loses one job and is trying to get coverage in the next job. if you could take your personal portable plan with you, that goes a long, long way to mitigating it. all of those reforms have a fundamentally different philosophy than obamacare. obamacare has a philosophy of put a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor. the reforms i laid out are all about empowering you, the american people, and empowering you, the patient to make choice, empowering you to make the decisions about your health care with your doctor with no government bureaucrat anywhere near you. and i'm going to suggest, mr. president, the difference is those plans come from listening to the people. obamacare is the opposite of listening to the people.
mr. lee: will the senator from texas yield for a question? mr. cruz: i'm happy to yield for a question and i'll return with more tweets at a later point. mr. lee: i've come with some updates from the outside world, updates based on what i'm hearing from my constituents at home. you may be interested in learning, senator cruz, that just today in the last 12 hours or so my office has received nearly 1100 emails, 1,093 to be precise. almost every single one of those is asking us to do whatever we can, do whatever it takes to defund obamacare. people are asking us to fund government, keep government functioning but to defund obamacare. i also have some news from a
local paper in the state of utah from the box elder news journal in the northern part of my state. in an article written by mike nelson, an associated editor with the box elder news journal, we read about brigham city moving to adjust its pay to cut its payroll in order to avoid certain obamacare provisions. i'm going to quote just from a part of it here. changes are coming for paid on-call employees at brigham city's emergency services department in an effort by the department and the city to avoid employee eligibility for health care under the affordable care act. back in february it became apparent the a.c.a. or for those of you who see the newspapers, obamacare, was going to dramatically impact the way we manage our fire and ambulance crews, said emergency services director jim buchanan while
addressing the issue at an august 1 city council meeting. this is one of many examples of not just businesses but also local governments that are having to make cuts in their payroll in order to adjust for this law. this is having a real impact on real people. it's having an impact also on students. i received a message from a student in utah named sarah. sarah today, a college student writes i'm a student facing a shrinking job market with fewer options. now it seems obamacare is going to force me as a healthy young person to pay more to keep the president's health plan functioning. how is that fair, she asked rhetorically. well, sarah, it's not. it's not fair. and sarah, i would add to that, we have this health care law it's called the patient
protection and affordable care act, the idea of it is that it's supposed to make health care more affordable. what we have found in recent months is that it's going to make health care less affordable with premium hikes expected around the country. what we're seeing is that this law will make health care not only less affordable, it's also fundamentally unfair. it's unfair in that it's forcing a lot of people to have cuts made to their wages, cuts made to their hours. in many cases people are losing access to health plans they've enjoyed for years. in some cases they're even seeing that they will no longer have access to the same physician or other health care provider that they've enjoyed for years. so this is a law that while touted as making health care somehow more affordable is actually making it less affordable and it's also being implemented in a manner that will make our health care system
fundamentally unfair. within my state, the state of utah, we have no fewer than five school districts and three universities that have been announcing cuts in their hours and cuts in their number of employees, all in response to this law. now, it's interesting that what we're discussing here today, much of what we've been discussing today has been on the upcoming cloture vote. there have been those who have argued that if you want to support the continuing resolution passed by the house of representatives -- remember this is the continuing resolution that will keep our federal government funded while defunding obamacare. if you want to support that, that you must vote yes on the cloture vote on the bill. well, that's an interesting take on it because notwithstanding the fact that some in my party
have been making that suggestion, it's anticipated that senator harry wrid -- reid, the senator from nevada is currently serving as the majority leader, that senator reid and 53 democratic allies -- as i understand, will all be voting for cloture on that bill. that begs the question, are those same people who are suggesting that if you support the house -- the house-passed continuing resolution, the one that funds government, keeps government funded while defunding obamacare, that have you to vote yes on cloture on the bill, does that mean that harry reid and the 53 democrats likely to follow him are supporting the house-passed continuing resolution, the one that keeps government funded while defunding obamacare? i find that a little strange. i find it a little
counterintuitive and i think it's important that we remember and we continually remind ourselves of what this is about. when this continuing resolution passed by the house last week, heroically in my opinion, showed a real strong sense of leadership by speaking john boehner, by the other republican leaders in the house of representatives, by the rank and file members of the house who voted for this legislation. he when they voted for it to defund obamacare, they stood with the american people who had asked them for relief from this bill. the american people had been telling them look, we need help. they had been asking how many of us will have to see our hours cut, how many of us will have to experience wage cuts, how many of us will have to lose access to the health care we've enjoyed for many, many years before congress acts? the house of representatives did
act. the body within our government, the branch within congress that is most responsive to the american people acted to protect the american people from this harmful law while simultaneously keeping the federal government operating. now that that has happened and that that bill is moving over to the senate and the ball is in our court, we have a couple of possible responses to that. if piers first, we could vote on it as is. we could vote on it just as it was passed by the house. we could vote on it up or down as is. without any amendment. that would be fine. i would be fine with that. if that's what we were doing i'd be voting yes on the cloture vote. of course i would. i expect my friend, the junior senator from texas would as well. there's another option. we could say, well, rather than vote on it as is, let's make adjustments to it.
let's invite amendments, let's have an open amendment process whereby senators, whether democrats or republicans, or the couple of independents that we have, could submit amendments as they deem fit, have those amendments not just proposed but debated, discussed, and ultimately voted upon. that would be an acceptable alternative. you know, people around here often call this, the united states senate, the world's greatest deliberative body. they call it that because this is a place where in theory we're supposed to have access to an open amendment process. theoretically unlimited debate. is it time consuming? yes. is it cumbersome? absolutely. can it be frustrating? without question. but it's one of the things that distinguishes this body, it's one of the things that makes this the senate. so if we were to have an open
amendment process, it would take a lot of time and might even require another all-night session like we had a few months ago in connection with the budget resolution. but it would be worth it. it would be acceptable and i would be voting yes on cloture on the bill if that's what we were faced with. but what we're being faced with, what we're being told is going to happen, what we're being told to expect is neither of those options. we're not being given the opportunity to vote yes or no, up or down on the continuing resolutions passed by the house of representatives. nor are we being given the opportunity to have an open amendment process, one that allows individual senators to propose amendments and have those amendments considered, voted on in this body. what we're being told instead is that what we will have is a single amendment brought forward by the majority leader. one amendment, one amendment only. and that amendment, by the way, would strip out the defunding language, it would gut the
house-passed continuing resolution of a provision that many would consider the "without which not" part of the house-passed bill. meaning the part without which the house of representatives could not, would not have gotten the necessary 218 votes to pass a continuing resolution. that's a problem. that's a problem, indeed, because that suggests that by voting for cloture in that most you're, where senator reid is contemplating allow neither an open amendment process nor an up-or-down vote on the house-passed resolution in as-is condition -- in either of those circumstances, we would be fine. but we're not getting that. we're getting stuck with something else. he wants to gut the house pief-d continuing resolution of the defunding language without any
open amendment process and without the opportunity for an up-or-down vote. so in that circumstance, i don't understand why it would be the case that republicans would feel that voting "yes" would be supporting the house of representatives and voting "no" would be voting against the house of representatives. in fact, it seems to me, senator cruz, that that would be quite the opposite of that. it seems to me, senator cruz, that if -- if one, in fact, wanted to stand behind the house of representatives and stand behind their willingness to defend the american people and protect them from this harmful law, that that at the end of the day would entail anyone who wanted to stand with the house of representatives at that point would necessarily need to vote "no" if, in fact, senator reid does what we expect him to do later this week.
would you agree, senator cruz, that that is what one would expect in that circumstance? and would you also agree that senator reid is likely to have 53 democrats going along with him and that if senator reid has 53 democrats going along with him, doesn't that undercut the argument that in order to support the house-passed bill, one must vote "yes" on the cloture vote on cloture on the bill? mr. cruz: i thank senator lee for his very good question. i think the answer is absolutely yes. if the objective of any senate very much to support the house republicans, the bill that they passed to defund obamacare, then you obviously would not vote to allow majority leader harry reid to strip out all of the operative language and to fund
obamacare with a 51-vote pure partisan democratic majority. that's not complicated. it's something, to be honest, ever senator in this body understands. the democrats all understand it. it's why harry reid is voting "yes" on cloture. it's why presumably every democrat will vote "yes" on cloture. why? you know, the reasoning that some of our colleagues have used is, well, a "yes" vote on cloture says you support the house of representatives bill, you support defunding obamacare. really? i suppose that means, then, that harry reid suddenly supports defunding obamacare and that every democrat suddenly supports defunding obamacare. now, my friend, senator lee, i would be happy if that were the case. if that interpretation were right and suddenly harry reid and every democrat supported defunding obamacare, that would be terrific. but you know what? we know for a fact it's not the
case. we know for a fact it's not the case because they publicly said it. we know for a fact it's not the case because just yesterday i asked for unanimous consent that we simply pass the house bill. and if every democrat, if harry reid supported defunding obamacare, he wouldn't have objected. everyone understands that the cloture vote on friday or saturday is a vote to allow harry reid to fully fund obamacare using only a 51-vote majority that allows it to be done on straight partisan lines. there's no confusion about that. every democrat understands it. every republican understands it. but, you know, there is some confusion -- not in this body -- it is so senators believe, with the american people. because senators think, well, the politics is confusing enough, the procedural mumbo jumbo is confusing enough that i can vote "yes," give harry reid the ability to defund obamacare and at the same time i can run
paid advertisings, as more than a few of our colleagues may well be doing right now, that say, "i want to defund obamacare." you can't do both. you can't hand harry reid the ability to fund obamacare and claim you want to defund it. pick a side. pick a position and stand by your beliefs. you know, i'll give an analogy. the house of representatives passed a bill that cut taxes and it came over to the senate. and majority leader harry reid announced that he wanted to file for cloture on that bill and then after that happens, he would file an amendment to erase all the tax cuts and to jack up taxes by a trillion dollars. and let's suppose he announced this publicly, told everyone, this is what i plan to do. by the way, it's going to be the
only amendment. so i'm going to totally gut the house bill and i'm going to turn a tax cut into a tax increase. now, mr. president, i am absolutely certain if that were the case, all 46 republicans would vote against cloture. forget the game. voting to cut off debate is voting to allow the majority leader to gut the house bill. so if you're voting for cloture, you're saying, i want the majority leader to be able to gut the house bill. but it's even better than that. if you believe -- what is it p.t. barnum said? -- you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time? you know, there are a lot of members of this body who think, some of the people all of the time will be just good enough for me.
if i can vote to give harry reid the ability to fund obamacare and then, beauty of all beauty, when we get to a 51-vote threshold on obamacare, i can vote against funding obamacare so i can go home and say, hey, i voted twice the right way. of course, i did it in a way that guaranteed 100% we're going to lose. guaranteed that obamacare will be funded. now, for that strategy to work depends upon voters being really gullible, voters being confused. and you know one of the great things? mr. president, i was reading tweets earlier. we're not living -- we talked before about we're not living in the 1950's. in many respects, we're not living in the 1950's. one of those respects is we no longer have three big networks that control all the news and limited avenues for the american people to find out what's going on. we've seen a democratization of
information. we now have cable tv, more channels, it seems, than you can possibly imagine. you've got avenues like fox news that get out content that the mainstream media won't co covern an effort to provide fair and balanced news. we've got talk radio. god bless talk radio, an avenue to reach out to millions of americans going right around the media gatekeeperkeepers. and then we've got the internet. we've got social media. we've got facebook. we've got twirt. we can disseminate information directly. and you know what? it may have been in the 1950's one could do some procedural smoke and mirrors, one could hide it in obfuscation and people wouldn't know. one of the most fascinating things -- i expect, mr. president, you've probably done this as well because you're an avid student of history -- is listen to the old l.b.j. tapes.
and l.b.j. on tape would be talking to one group and he'd say, "i'm totally with you. i'm totally with you." and he'd say that on tape. then you'd get him on tape talking to the other side, and he'd say, "i'm totally with you, i'm totally with you." and he'd tell groups 180 degrees opposite of each other. but he could say one to one thing and to the other another thing. and they were so different that they'd never get a chance to reconcile. i'm going to suggest, mr. president, in 2013, it's a lot harder to do. 2013, if you tell one group you're totally with them, you better believe the other group's going to find out about it. in 2013, if you vote, as some republicans vote -- i hope they don't, but some republicans might -- if you vote to give harry reid the power to fund obamacare on a straight partisan 51-vote threshold, then you are voting to funding obamacare. and i'll tell ya this, your
constituents are going to know about it. and it's not anything any of us are going to do. it's because our constituents are now engaged directly, are now following this debate directly. and so the ads that say "i'm for defunding obamacare" while at the same time you're fighting to keep funding obamacare, that doesn't work in the internet age. doesn't work. you know what? it's the old line that i try not to lie, i try to tell the truth because it's so hard to keep track of the lies. if you tell people multiple positions, just stand up and fight for what you believe in. we were talking before about senator bernie sanders. i respect the heck out of bernie sanders. and actually -- and this is a comment that often surprises our friends in the media and even
some democrats -- i respect president obama. i respect the man a great deal. because i think he's deeply committed to his principles. i think he has taken political risk for his principles. i think he has fought for them. and i think he's a true believer. everything i've seen about his entire course of life, i think he believes genuinely, ernestly, with all of his heart in government solutions, government control of the economy and our lives and in redistribution of wealth. and i -- i have no reason to doubt that the president sleeps like a babe at night believing that he is fighting to better america. now, listen, at the same time i believe that the ideas the president believes in, the policies that he has advanced are profoundly harmful. not a little bit wrong but profoundly harmful to this country. but you know what? that's a debate we can have. that's a policy debate i welcome. has it been good or bad for americans to implement obamaca
obamacare? has it been good or bad for americans to see jobs drying up? as that been good or bad for americans to see small businesses not growing anymore? has it been good or bad for americans to see health insurance premiums skyrocketing? has it been good or bad for americans to see more and more people losing their health insurance? that's a debate i'm happy to have. on the distanc --have. on the substance. but looks the president embraces that policy. i'll confess, what produces more of the cynicism, the scement skm towards washington are the politicians that don't have the honest debates, the politicians who don't say, "you know what? i'm not all that fond of obamacare but it doesn't matter enough to me to risk anything on it." i care more about staying in office than i do actually about fighting a fight." and so i want to take some symbolic votes and i don't want
to risk any chance of anyone blaming me for the downside." you know, i get why voters are frustrated with that. i get why voters are frustrated when politicians say one thing and do another. it shouldn't be complicated. do what you say. it shouldn't be complicated. stand up for your principles. if you don't believe obamacare should be funded, if you believe obamacare is hurting americans, then stand up and say, let's defund obamacare. and i've made very clear, we could end this debate tonight. we could end this debate right now if the majority leader would come down and, number one say, look, the best way to end this debate would be is if he would agree to pass the house continuing resolution to fund all of government except for obamacare. that would be the best way. i recognize that's not likely to happen any time soon. but it would be the best way. it would be the way most responsive to the american
people. but the second way to end this debate -- and, by the way, to expedite this process -- is to simply have the majority leader agree to have open amendments and have those amendments subject to a 60-vote threshold. now, mr. president, let me point out, you and i've both been here the same number -- same number of months, nine months. during the time we've been here, we've seen vote after vote at vote at 60-vote thresholds. that is very, very common. mr. president, you will remember the guns debate that we had. look, guns is an emotional issue, it's a passionate issue. it's an issue people on both sides care a lot about. i get that. you will remember when we voted on the floor of this senate, every similar amendment was subject to a 60-vote threshold. in the course of that debate, i introduced, along with senator chuck grassley, the grassley-cruz bill, the law enforcement alternative. it was instead of restricting the second amendment rights of
law-abiding citizens, it was targeting violent criminals. it was going after felons and fugitives to try to illegally buy guns. it was going after those who commit violent crimes with guns. it was going after states that don't report mental health records to the background check system. we just saw a horrific shooting in washington, d.c. all of us are mourning for the victims and the families there. the individual that it appears has significant mental health issues. grassley-cruz bill would have put significant incentives and penalties for states to get them to report mental health records, because you know what our background check system doesn't work if you don't have the mental health records in them. and as of a date relatively recently, i don't recall a date off the top of my head, but relatively recently this year, i believe there were 18 states that reported 100 or few records. mr. president, you will recall what happened with that bill,
every amendment. we got a majority, a majority of senators voted for the grassley-cruz bill. indeed, nine democrats voted for the grassley-cruz bill. it was the most bipartisan of any of the comprehensive gun legislation that was considered by this body. there was no other comprehensive bill that had anywhere close to that level of bipartisan support across the aisle. and yet, the grassley-cruz bill did not pass into law. didn't even get sent over to the house. why? because there was a 60-vote threshold, because effectively majority leader reid filibustered. now, as important as guns are, i think restoring jobs in the economy, restoring economic growth, dealing with the train wreck that is obamacare is at least as important to the american people, and the idea that somehow a 60-vote threshold
was okay there but here there has to be a partisan exercise of brute power in my view is completely inconsistent with the traditions of this great body. but i would note it serves the purposes of politicians on both sides of the aisle. serves the purposes of democrats because most democrats right now still want to preserve obamacare. most democrats, in my view, are privately getting more and more nervous about the train wreck that this is. they're seeing you can't go home and talk to your constituents without seeing the job loss and the health insurance premiums going up and the people losing their health insurance coverage. i think most democratic senators are nervous about it, but not yet ready to abandon ship. and on the republican side, there is not a republican here who doesn't enjoy giving speeches about obamacare. boy, we can give speeches,
humdingers sometimes. but there are more than a few republicans who are nervous about actually doing anything that has a real chance of happening because, look, any time you take a stand that has risk, there is downside risk. if we hold our ground on this, if the households their ground on it, it is entirely possible the majority leader harry reid and president obama will force a government shutdown. i don't think they should. i think that would be a mistake. but they publicly said they're willing to shut the government down in order to force obamacare on the american people, and that has a lot of members on the republican side of the conference nervous, because they think, well, president obama and harry reid shut the government down. they will blame it on republicans, and the media will all repeat that attack. the mainstream media, every one of them will repeat word for word the talking points. it will get to the point that the stories we read in the major newspapers will read as if they were written by the white house press office. but you know what?
that's been the way of the world a long time. and so there are republicans nervous about, well, even if the president and harry reid force a shutdown, republicans will get blame and we don't want the political blame, so we don't want to fight this fight. in fact, a lot of republicans have gone out to the press and say we can't win, we can't win, we can't win. when you have a lot of republicans saying we can't win, that's one way to make it less likely you're going to win. and it is true if republicans don't stand together on this, we can't win. some have asked why haven't democrats come over to join us? listen, mr. president. you and i both know no democrats are going to come join us as long as half the republican conference is split and throwing rocks at us. there is no incentive for anyone to do that now. the only hope of bringing democrats over to join us is if we first unify republicans, if
we get all 46 republicans to stand together opposing cloture to say no, we're not going to let harry reid shut down all amendments, we'll not let harry reid fund obamacare on a straight partisan partner-line vote. and then if those democrats are elected and red states begin hearing from their constituents, hearing from their constituents in incredible numbers, listen, i'll tell you the people of arkansas, the people of louisiana, the people of north carolina, they understand obamacare's a train wreck. they would like their senators to listen to them. and you and i both know when you start to hear from 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 of your constituents, it changes your calculus. if there is one thing the men and women of this body like, it's to get re-elected. the only way this fight is going to be won is if the american people speak so loudly that the
politicians in this office have no choice but listen to the people, and let me give an example, an example that, mr. president, you and i spoke about at the time. about a month ago, we all remember that president obama publicly announced his intention to launch a unilateral military attack on the nation of syria. now, when that happened, bipartisan leaders in both the house and senate fairly quickly came out in support of that plan. and just about every commentator, just about every talking head in washington said there was no chance of stopping it. it was going to happen. it was a done deal. it was going to happen. in fact, it was the same voices who are saying now with regard to defunding obamacare can't be done, can't be done, accept it, accept it, can't be done. all of those exact same voices with syria said he is going to
attack, nothing you can do, can't be done. now, mr. president, you and i both spoke out loudly initially saying that the president should bring that issue to congress, and i at the time and now commend the president for listening to bipartisan calls. that was not easy. i have no doubt there were significant dissension among his advisors who didn't want him to do so, and i commend the president for listening to those bipartisan calls. it was the right thing to do. and once he submitted it to congress, what happened next, you and i both know because you and i both went home to our respective states. the people in our states were not evenly divided on the question of syria. it wasn't a close call. i can tell you in my office, the calls literally went 100-1 against the united states launching a unilateral military attack against syria getting involved in that sectarian civil war in a way that didn't further our national security. we had over 5,000 calls from
texans opposing getting us in the middle of that syrian civil war. we had roughly 50 in support of it. i think the percentage in our office at one point was 99.13% of the calls were against military intervention. and we saw something even more incredible. everyone said it was a done deal. the senate was going to vote to approve it. and the more the american people spoke up, the more people began listening. the more people in this body began listening. the more some of those who early on were fans of the military intervention suddenly began listening to their constituents, saying i'm not so sure this makes sense. and then astonishingly, remarkably, and i give them credit for this, the president of the united states listened, and the president went before this nation and asked this body vote on this, and i'm glad he did, because if we had voted, i think at that point it was very clear that he would
have lost the vote, that congress would not have voted to authorize military force. the house clearly would have voted against it. and i think there is a good chance the senate would have also. the senate votes were a little harder to predict. but i'm glad the president asked us to call off that vote because, look, i don't think it's good for this country, for congress to vote against the commander in chief on issues of national security and defending this nation, so i'm glad we didn't have that vote, but i'm glad he listened to the american people, and i want to point out for everyone who says defunding obamacare is impossible, they are the same choices that said stopping the syrian attack was impossible, exact same voices. all of the media, gray beards, the only thing that's going to change the dynamic in this body, the only thing that's going to unite 41 republicans against cloture, against allowing harry reid to fund obamacare is if the
voice of the people becomes so loud that it can't be ignored. and the only thing that's going to start moving red state democrats is if the voice of the people in their states become so loud it isn't be ignored, and ultimately that's how we win this fight. it comes down to the people. now, mr. president, i'd also like to have a bit of a discussion on an issue that i would note, mr. president, and senator lee both care about and are quite expert on, which is constitutional law and the separation of powers. now, we have often seen pundits go on television, and they use a phrase that i think is particularly as a nine. they say republicans cannot expect to, fill in the blank here, defund obamacare, cut
taxes, push tax reform, have regulatory reform, do anything. republicans cannot expect to x because we control just one half of one-third of the government. the only thing that republicans have in washington is a majority in the house, and you can't do anything from one half of one-third of the government. mr. president, there is a technical legal term for that argument. it's poppycock. it is complete and utter nonsense. that's not the way our constitutional system works. it is true that democrats currently have a majority in the senate, that a democrat sits in the white house. that's true. but the constitution gives different branches different responsibilities, and in their
respective spheres, each branch has exceptional powers. so when it comes, mr. president, to ordering our military troops in battle, to selecting targets to making direct decisions of military conflict, the president of the united states is commander in chief, and it does not matter if the president is a democrat whether 535 members of congress are republicans. when it comes to being commander in chief, when it comes to ordering our troops into battle, to making decisions in the midst of conducting war, the constitution gives the president preeminent authority on that. under article 2. when it comes to adjudicating the constitutionality of the law , you can make arguments about whether this is right or not, but as a practical matter, the constitution and modern
acceptance gives the supreme court preeminence in adjudicating whether a law comports with the constitution. and i would note that is true even if five justices of the court are appointed by a different political party than the party that controls both houses of congress and the presidency. you could have five justices appointed by a democratic president and 535 republican members of congress and a republican president, and yet on questions of adjudicating the constitutionality of a law, the supreme court would still have preeminence and very significant authority. and when it comes to appropriations, when it comes to the power of the purse, when it comes to spending, article 1 of
the constitution gives congress preeminence, and in particular the house of representatives. so i'll be perfectly honest, if i were to pick one thing for republicans to have control over, particularly when it comes to funding or defunding something, it would be the house of representatives. and every pundit who goes on television and says well, we just control one half of one-third of the government, what complete and utter nonsense. not a single law can pass into law without the house of representatives. it is a necessary but-for. and on questions of spending, the house of representatives has preeminence. so this notion it can't be done -- and a related point. there are some on the democratic side of the aisle who make the argument this is the settled law of the land. accept it already. you guys are bitter enders. we passed it into law, we won a